The collection consists of the diary of a young Pennsylvania soldier who joined the Union Army on January 4, 1864 at the age of 13. It is an account of his 1 1/2 years of military service during the Civil War.
Perry first saw action in the Battle of the Wilderness and was seriously wounded on May 6, 1864. Due to his wound, he was removed from active duty for 6 months. In February 1865, he saw action again around Petersburg, Virginia (Battle of Dabney's Mill) and was on regular picket duty from February 1865 until the war's end. He was present at Appomattox when Lee surrendered on April 9, 1865 and was involved in the pursuit of General Johnston's forces into North Carolina following Lee's surrender.
Of particular interest is Perry's description of the medical treatment he received for his wound. He was ignored by surgeons as being too close to death and six days elapsed before his wound was treated and a meal prepared. Perry was finally transported to Carver Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he was visited regularly by the Sisters of Charity. While confined at Carver Hospital, Perry met President Lincoln and his wife who were visiting army hospitals in Washington.
Also of interest are Perry's comments on the election of 1864 when soldiers, if close to home, were permitted to return to vote; desertions on both sides, particularly Confederate deserters near the war's end; rations and pay in the Union Army; life on the picket line, particularly conversations with Confederate pickets from North Carolina; and descriptions of such cities as Washington, D.C., Alexandria, Chancellorsville, Petersburg, and Richmond (Libby Prison). Another point of interest is that Perry states that on April 8, 1865 in a camp recently vacated by Lee, he found Lee's orders to General Ewell to burn the city of Richmond.