William Henry Huntzinger's intention was to publish his diary at the close of the war. He penciled it in small pocket-sized memorandum books probably carried with him wherever he went. Then as a precaution against its loss he would copy it in ink on letter-size stationery when he had spare time in camp and mail this home to his father a few sheets at a time. We can only guess why he did not get it printed in the thirteen years he lived after his discharge. Inaccessibility of publishers in southern Iowa then? Preoccupation with helping his parents and their large family of younger children? Lack of time and money for this extra after his own marriage in 1868 and the coming of children into his home?
But fortunately the diary was preserved - by the widow for twenty-nine years, two of the daughters after her death, and finally by me, the oldest of the grandchildren. It traveled back to Indiana for the use of the committee who compiled the HISTORY OF THE; SEVENTY-NINTH REGIMENT, INDIANA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY (1899), to northern Iowa, North Dakota, several places in northern Iowa again, Oregon, and California. Only the first and the last of the memorandum books and a few sheets of the copy have been lost.
The complete account covering Huntzinger's experiences from August 12, 1862, to August 17, 1865, except for two brief periods in 1862, is here presented with the spelling, grammar, Hoosier dialect, and possibly some traces of Pennsylvania Dutch influence - all just as he "writ" it more than a century ago. A few spaces which he left for later insertion of words or quotations still remain blank, never having been filled in. The only change in form has been to introduce chapter divisions and to indent and underscore dates for the daily entries, for obvious reasons. I have also added a few bracketed words and some footnotes to clarify certain statements or add some historical sidelights. The Appendix was put in for the sake of Huntzinger descendants interested in their family tree.
This publication would hardly have been accomplished without the encouragement and help of my sister, Grace E. Fox, in counsel, correspondence, proof reading, and financial subsidy. My wife Agnes also read my typed pages daily and offered suggestions, as well as carrying extra burdens to free more time for me during the pressure of typing the manuscript. To all other relatives and friends who have helped in various ways I am most grateful.
For me this has been a labor of love, gratitude, and a certain sense of stewardship to preserve the diary and make it available to all the Huntzinger descendants and other interested persons.
Floyd B. La Favre