First Bull Run Lt. John Pelham: "The whistling of bullets and shells was music to me, I gloried in it"

Andy Cardinal

1st Lieutenant
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Feb 27, 2017
Location
Ohio
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"I have seen what Romancers call glorious war. I have seen it in all its phases. I have heard the booming of cannon, and the more deadly rattle of musketry at a distance — I have heard it all nearby and have been under its destructive showers; I have seen men and horses fall thick and fast around me. I have seen our own men bloody and frightened flying before the enemy — I have seen them bravely charge the enemy’s lines and heard the shout of triumph as they carried the position. I have heard the agonizing shrieks of the wounded and dying — I have passed over the battle field and seen the mangled forms of men and horses in frightful abundance — men without heads, without arms, and others without legs. All this I have witnessed and more, till my heart sickens; and war is not glorious as novelists would have us believe. It is only when we are in the heat and flush of battle that it is fascinating and interesting. It is only then that we enjoy it. When we forget ourselves and revel in the destruction we are dealing around us. I am now ashamed of the feelings I had in those hours of danger. The whistling of bullets and shells was music to me, I gloried in it — it delighted and fascinated me — I feared not death in any form; but when the battle was won and I visited the field a change came over me, I see the horrors of war, but it is necessary...."

Pelham's full account can be found here.
 
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