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The Road to Red House

Published June 2007
Softcover, 200 pages

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In 1848 at the age of seventeen, Francis Strickland saw America for the first time. Emigrating from England with his family, he could not possibly imagine that in less than fifteen years he would be involved in a war in which more than 600,000 of his countrymen would lose their lives. A war in which there was no foreign enemy… just North against South – Americans killing each other. Francis was lucky, losing only his arm at the Battle of Gettysburg, but proud to fight for his new country and a cause in which he deeply believed.

After the death of his mother in 1997, Chuck Strickland found a treasure trove of Civil War letters, diaries, published articles, genealogy notes, and other memorabilia that had been passed down through the generations to his parents. His wife Peggy began transcribing the Civil War letters written home by Francis Strickland to his wife in Red House, New York. Francis and many of his friends and neighbors fought with the 154th New York Volunteers assembled at Jamestown in 1862. These letters describe the personal side of a soldier's life during the early days of the Civil War as Francis describes the aftermath of the battles of Bull Run and the 154th's involvement in the battles of Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. Francis' letters home ended when he lost his arm after being wounded on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

After the war, Francis Strickland was elected the first Town Supervisor of Red House, New York, and his oldest son Theron became a teacher and writer. As the phantom writer for the Randolph newspaper The Courant, Theron, writing as the "Mountaineer," posted a weekly correspondent's column. These columns are included in the book and give the reader a snapshot of small town life in Red House during the early 1880s.  The area and town of Red House is now part of Allegany State Park in upstate New York.

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