Howard sets the record straight at certain points of the memoirs with his research notes included with the book.
Levey was born in 1840 and enlisted in the 134th New York Infantry in August 1862. The regiment fought at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg with the Union army's 11th Corps. The corps had a large number of German-speaking immigrant-soldiers in its ranks and was subject to a great deal of discrimination during its service.
Levey was wounded at the battle of Dug Gap, Ga., after his regiment transferred to the war's Western Theater, according to Howard, and participated in General William T. Sherman's controversial "March to the Sea"in 1864.
He eventually lost his leg to a field amputation as a result of his wound and spent his final years in the Quaker Street settlement outside Duanesburg.
Active in veteran's affairs during the postwar period, Levey died in 1921.
Howard said his fascination with the Civil War began, of all places, at the Slingerlands Elementary School.
"I had a reading problem when I was in Slingerlands Elementary, and my old librarian Ann Reardon told me to pick any book in the library I wanted to read," Howard said. "I picked an illustrated Civil War book and whatever was in that book started a spark."
Howard's reading vastly improved, and his thirst for all things Civil War hasn't been quenched since.
The story didn't end there, according to Howard, who recalled talking to a reporter about a Civil War question when working as chief of staff for former Gov. George Pataki.
"A woman in my office asked why I was talking to a reporter about the Civil War, and when I explained my background, she told me her mother was a school librarian in Bethlehem and kept a Civil War book that she said changed a little boy's life," said Howard. "Her mother was Ann Reardon, and I was the little boy."