IN THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness,


Sergeant Major
Apr 1, 2016
Atlanta, Georgia
IN THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness,

September 21, 1862
Soldier Told of Death of his Brother at Antietam
The repercussions of the Battle of Antietam were still being felt; on this day a Georgia soldier had to write back home telling of the death of his brother.

“…I write to…tell the family that Walter was killed at a battle fought at Sharpsburg, Maryland, on Wednesday, 17th instant. On that morning I was standing at the foot of the Potomac River…and saw him come over. … He went immediately on to the battlefield and was perhaps half a mile north of the village when ordered to advance. He drew his sword and, waving it in the air, cried, ‘Come on!’ and just at that moment a minie ball struck him from the left in the shoulder, which passed through and lodged just under his right arm. That prostrated him and completely paralyzed him from that point to his feet. A friend laid him down and stayed with him until he himself was shot. There they both lay under a terrible fire, the regiment falling back. He was shot three times in the left side. His left leg, just above the ankle, had a minie ball entirely through, leaving a large orifice and his left great toe was shot on top. His cap was shot off his head and torn all to pieces, but did not hit his head. As the enemy had possession of the ground, he was not taken off the battlefield until next day about 2 o’clock. His friends stole in and brought him away. …” Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 186.

September 21, 1864
Soldier Wrote Wife of Being Reckless
A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of their movements and his somewhat reckless behavior in a cavalry engagement.

“…Since my last we have left the valley and are now enroute for Richmond or some other point south. … I suppose Grant is making a great arrangement to take Richmond and General Lee getting ready to meet him. God defend the right. I forgot to say that I was complimented very highly for my conduct in the cavalry fight the other day. I was laughing most all the time and cheering on the boys sometimes from fifty to seventy-five yards in front of the brigade on my horse. I hope you will not scold me dear Molly, for if I fall in this war let me die like a soldier and let my name illustrate the blood of my veins…” Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet’s Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), pp. 282-283

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