Sacrifice All for the Union: The Civil War Experiences of Captain John Valley Young and his Family

Sacrifice All for the Union: The Civil War Experiences of Captain John Valley Young and his Family

by Philip Hatfield


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The story of Captain John Valley Young personifies the body of rugged Union Army volunteers from West Virginia during the Civil War: highly resilient, stubbornly independent, and fiercely patriotic. Using Captain Young’s wartime letters to his wife, Paulina Franklin Young, and his daughters, Sarah and Emily Young, along with his diary and numerous other original soldier accounts, this book reveals the experiences of a Union soldier and his family who were truly willing to “Sacrifice All for the Union.”

Young, a farmer and Methodist-Episcopalian minister prior to the Civil War, during April 1861 raised a company of Union volunteers at the strongly pro-Southern village of Coalsmouth, Virginia, (modern St. Albans, West Virginia). He was adamantly opposed to slavery, yet often expressed a bitter ire at having to fight a violent civil war because his beloved nation had thus far failed to eradicate the awful practice. His company became Company G of the 13th West Virginia Infantry and was later transferred to the 11th West Virginia Infantry.

While he displayed an unshakeable desire to preserve the Union, Young’s convictions were severely tested as he and his family faced constant dangers from guerillas and Confederate raids in the Kanawha Valley. Captain Young also participated in more than one hundred skirmishes and eleven major engagements in the bloody Shenandoah Valley, and at Petersburg, and Appomattox; more than any other Union officer from West Virginia. He died from tuberculosis in 1867, a sad irony after surviving some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.

“…Stand firm to the good old Cause. I have just come from Charleston, and found while there that there will be a change of Commanders in the Department of [West] Virginia. The authorities feel determined that we shall have protection. But if we cannot have better protection than we have had, the country is ruined. But I assure you there will be a change for the better. I don’t know how you will get up to see me now. Well, we must bear it the best we can. Sacrifice All for the Union.” - Captain John Valley Young, Letter to his wife, February 3, 1862

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781735073927
Publisher: 35th Star Publishing
Publication date: 05/30/2020
Pages: 330
Sales rank: 1,113,824
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.75(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

1 – Yankees in Virginia, 1861. 9

2 – A Divided State, 1862. 37

3 – First Blood, 1863. 85

4 – Valley of Death, 1864. 139

5 – Everyone Knew the End War Near, 1865. 217

6 – Return to Civilian Life. 295

Appendix. 303

Name Index. 321

About the Author. 325

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