by carolyn wilson

It was by chance that Carolyn Wilson discovered a packet of yellowed letters neatly bound with a light blue satin ribbon. They were among her late father’s stamp collecting paraphernalia tucked away in the attic of her family home in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She knew instantly that they had little to do with father or anyone else in her family. They had been written by a Lt. William H. Irwin of Allegheny City and the postmark was 1862!

This William Irwin, she would learn, was a Civil War soldier and a member of the Irwin family of Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh’s North Side) and of the Peterson clan of Tarentum. He had trained at Camp Orr in Kittanning and was a member of the Company G division of the Pennsylvania 103rd Regiment.

The found letters by The Soldier in the Attic led the author on a fascinating journey of discovery, and it inspired this true story of lives intersecting and events conspiring to create a compelling view of the times, the people, how they lived, what they suffered and how they survived and triumphed.


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