Despite the flood of books on articles on virtually every aspect of the American Civil War that has inundated the reading public since Lee's surrender at Appomattox, many gaps still remain, including the activities of engineer forces on both sides. As in any modern war, building and repairing the sinews of war - roads, bridges, railways - are vital functions that lack the glamour of armies clashing in battle and so tend to be underreported by historians. "Dear Friends at Home..." is an important primary source that sheds light on Union engineering activities as well as the viewpoint of a volunteer Engineer who served as a sergeant and company-grade officer. Such volunteers supported operations just as the regular Army Engineers, from constructing pontoon bridges under fire to building field fortifications for siege operations. His letters and diaries convey his reactions to the extreme conditions of wartime, from the rigors of combat to the boredom of camp life. They also present the views of a stalwart and unflinching supporter of the Union cause who saw slavery and its overthrow as a key component of the struggle against the Confederacy. "Dear Friends at Home..." is a document of keen interest for its insights into the thoughts and feelings of an engineer at war and descriptions of Civil War combat engineering.