IN THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness,

Stiles/Akin

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IN THEIR OWN WORDS.. voices from the unpleasantness,

September 27, 1862
Soldier Wrote of His Part at Antietam
A Georgia soldier wrote home to his wife, telling her of his part in the Battle of Antietam.

“…we marched out five to meet the enemy. We were on the extreme right. A call was made for two skirmishers from each company. Being just hotheaded enough to love the excitement, I volunteered immediately. We sallied forth and had gone but little ways before we routed the Yankee skirmishers. bank! Bank! went the guns. Whiz! Whiz! went and came the bullets and the Yanks trotted handsomely, while our boys poured it into them thick. … On we went still routing them till we drove them across the river. … We were all the time exposed to the heaviest shelling I have ever seen or heard. Our Brigade followed in the rear. We lay there the balance of the day with nothing to do, but the left wing our our Division had a hard fight…” Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp. 27-28.

September 27, 1863
Soldier Wrote of Good Food, Grisly Execution
A Georgia soldier wrote home to his wife, telling her of conflicting occurrences - first, he and his friends had enjoyed some good food at the expense of some local farmers, but had then witnessed a disturbing scene.

“…There was a large corn field near un unguarded and we made roasting ears get up and dust worse than you can imagine. We had had none in some time and were worse than hogs. Officers and all pitched in. Soldiers will steal or press, as they term it, and there is no use to deny it. … Among the other good things we found were pumpkins which we cook and eat at all stages. If they are green we cook them after the squash order and if ripe after the usual manner of cooking them at home. They eat splendid either way. … now comes the most solemn scene I ever witnessed. We were ordered to witness the death of two men who had been court martialed and sentenced to be shot for desertion. … I shall never forget the impression it made on me. After reaching the end of the line, the prisoners were conducted to the stakes, and the guards were placed ten paces in front of them, in two ranks. There were ten men to shoot at each prisoner. Six guns of the ten were loaded with balls, the others with powder only, but none of the guard knew whether his gun contained a ball or not. After arranging the guard and prisoners, they sung a hymn and went to prayer. The Prisoners were then tied to the stakes. They were kneeling with their face towards the guard and had their arms tied to the cross piece and were blindfolded. The command was then given to fire and they were launched into eternity. The cross piece to which one was tied was shot to pieces. He raised himself perpendicular fell forward and turned over on his back and died instantly. He was pierce through with six balls. The other was struck with only one ball. He turned to one side and was some time dying. …” Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia(Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp. 89-90.

September 27, 1863
Soldier Near Chattanooga Expected More Battle
A Georgia soldier wrote to his wife from near Chattanooga; he still expected battle at any time.

“…My Dear we are hear in a line of battle an we do not know what hour we will have to go at it. we are about three miles from Chattanooga at the foot of the Lookout Mountain between the mountain an the Tennessee River in a beautiful Valey. but I expect we will have a hard battle hear an many lives may be lost an I may number among the dead but my prayer is to live to see you all once more in life. but we should all pray for this wicked war to stop. …” Source: Katherine S. Holland (ed.), Keep All My Letters: The Civil War Letters of Richard Henry Brooks, 51st Georgia Infantry (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2003), p. 107.

September 27, 1863
Soldier Wrote of Good Food, Grisly Execution
A Georgia soldier wrote home to his wife, telling her of conflicting occurrences - first, he and his friends had enjoyed some good food at the expense of some local farmers, but had then witnessed a disturbing scene.

“…There was a large corn field near un unguarded and we made roasting ears get up and dust worse than you can imagine. We had had none in some time and were worse than hogs. Officers and all pitched in. Soldiers will steal or press, as they term it, and there is no use to deny it. … Among the other good things we found were pumpkins which we cook and eat at all stages. If they are green we cook them after the squash order and if ripe after the usual manner of cooking them at home. They eat splendid either way. … now comes the most solemn scene I ever witnessed. We were ordered to witness the death of two men who had been court martialed and sentenced to be shot for desertion. … I shall never forget the impression it made on me. After reaching the end of the line, the prisoners were conducted to the stakes, and the guards were placed ten paces in front of them, in two ranks. There were ten men to shoot at each prisoner. Six guns of the ten were loaded with balls, the others with powder only, but none of the guard knew whether his gun contained a ball or not. After arranging the guard and prisoners, they sung a hymn and went to prayer. The Prisoners were then tied to the stakes. They were kneeling with their face towards the guard and had their arms tied to the cross piece and were blindfolded. The command was then given to fire and they were launched into eternity. The cross piece to which one was tied was shot to pieces. He raised himself perpendicular fell forward and turned over on his back and died instantly. He was pierce through with six balls. The other was struck with only one ball. He turned to one side and was some time dying. …”

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