This Week in Georgia Civil War History
Aug. 9, 1863: A Georgia soldier wrote to his wife from Virginia, contrasting the plentiful food they had in Pennsylvania with what they had in camp, and telling her how much he wanted to see her and their family.
"...I tell you a day or two rest after over two months hard marching does us a great deal of good. I think we have marched over four hundred miles. I could not wish for any better living than when we had as we was going on an after we got through Maryland an into Pennsylvania as far as we went but after we turned back this way again we all have suffered very much ever since for something to eat. we have not had more than half enough to ear since we turned back. ... My Dear I do hope the war will soon close for I do want to see you an the Children the worst I ever had in my life. ..."
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. 97.
Aug. 10, 1863: Another Georgia soldier wrote from Virginia, this time to his mother, telling her of rumors of mistreatment of Confederate prisoners, and the possible results of it. He also mentioned that he wished the Confederate Army in the west had officers as good as the ones he was serving under in the east.
"...they [Yankees} have got many of our friends in their hands and they are beginning to treat them very bad. I would not be surprised no time to hear of the Black Flag being raised on that account. There is some talk of it but I hope the people will use more humanity in this war than that. I am willing to defend our rights under a Civilized Banner but I am very much opposed to the Black Flag. But if the Yankees raises it first I will fight it but if our men raises it first then I am done. Give all the Vicksburg Boys my best respects. Tell them to keep in heart but I know it is bad to fight under officers without confidence. I wish they had such officers as we have got. I think they would be more successful. General Lee has the confidence of our army. We don't doubt his loyalty. ..."
Source: Elizabeth Whitley Roberson, In Care of Yellow River: The Complete Civil War Letters of Pvt. Eli Pinson Landers to His Mother (Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 1997), p.132.
The Richmond Times Dispatch reported on a case before the Georgia Supreme Court, on the matter of impressment of goods, in this case sugar.
Aug. 11, 1863: The Confederate Union of Milledgeville printed an address from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to the soldiers of the Confederate States, some of whom were not then with their respective armies. He was confident in ultimate victory if all eligible men would serve.
The Southern Recorder of Milledgeville printed another proclamation from Confederate President Jefferson Davis, also asking that the citizens do their part.
Click here to see the handwritten discharge order for a Georgia soldier released by a surgeon's certificate of disability.
Aug. 12, 1863: The Southern Banner of Athens printed an item showing someone trying to collect a vital item for Georgia soldiers in the upcoming winter - socks.
Socks! Socks! Socks!
Wanted for Georgia Soldiers before Winter: 5,000 pairs Cotton and Wool Socks. Go to knitting. I will pay for best cotton socks 85 cents. Best wool socks, $1.25.--For the Georgia Relief & Hospital Association, by whom the socks are given, free of cost to Georgia soldiers.
Aug. 12 I. M. Kenney.
The Richmond Times Dispatch mentioned a rumor that Union General William Rosecrans was being transferred from his army in Tennessee to Virginia, and that Ulysses S. Grant would likely replace him. While this rumor was not factual at the time, Grant would replace Rosecrans following the first major battle fought on Georgia soil, now just over a month away.
Aug. 13, 1863: A Georgia soldier wrote home to his wife on the discouragement he and many others felt.
". . . Oh, Mollie, how dark! This indeed is a dark day for the Confederacy. Hundreds of our men are deserting and those that remain are discouraged and disheartened and people at home are whipped and want us to give up. To give up is but subjugation, to fight on is but dissolution, to submit is awful, to fight on is death! Oh, what shall we do? To submit, God forbid. To fight on, God deliver. Oh, Mollie, when I think of the thousand[s] of mangled forms of human beings crippled, torn in pieces, the thousands of widows and fatherless children all over our land, the weeping and mourning and anguish throughout the land, I am compelled to cry out, "Oh, God, how long will Thou afflict us, how long shall the horrors of war desolate our once happy country?" . . . I tell you, dear Mollie, unless the great God help us we are gone, and how can we expect Him to bless such a people as we are. I once believed in the justice of our cause, but we have made it a curse and not a blessing. I believe that the next six months will decide our fate, and I fear it will be against us. All that I can say is, God forbid.
"The men from North Carolina held [a] meeting yesterday. I believe they will go back to the Union. The men from Georgia say that if the [Union] army invades Georgia they are going home. I don't believe our army will fight much longer. I know that many will or would say that I am whipped. I would say to them if they would come and see and feel what I have would feel as I do. . . ."
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), pp. 260-261.
Aug. 14, 1863: The Richmond Times Dispatch mentioned an editor was seeking a copy of "Georgia Scenes," by Augustus Baldwin Longstreet.
A Southern editor offers a liberal price to any one who will sell him a copy of that mirth provoking volume, "Georgia Scenes." We should judge from this that the book is all most out of print. We trust the author will at once bring out a new edition. It would go off like hot cakes. If any one is to derive advantage from its reproduction it ought to be the man who created it, and from whom, when it first appeared, the Northern publishers, as usual, got the lion's share of the profits. We invoke our Savannah contemporary to make a note of this forth with, and confer a great deal of pressure upon the reading public, as well as secure for himself the reward which he ought to have reaped from his book at the time of its first publication.
Aug. 15, 1863: An Atlanta man wrote in his diary, disapproving of the way the Confederate government was taking horses and not compensating the owners appropriately.
"There has been considerable excitement in our city this week upon the horse question, the military powers having pressed nearly all the valuable horses that are in the place in order to recruit the Cavalry branch of the Army in Tennessee. Many of our citizens have been deprived of carriage horses that they had refused three or four thousand dollars for, and been obliged to take only a fourth part of that amount for them. I think it is a high handed and dishonest proceeding, unworthy such a government as ours professes to be. Having no horses to lose myself, my opinion is a disinterested one. If the emergency requires that horses should be taken by force the owners ought at any rate to receive just compensation."
Source: Franklin M. Garrett, Atlanta and Environs:A Chronicle of Its People and Events (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1954), p. 558.
The Richmond Times Dispatch printed a brief report on a man in Savannah who was caught selling dog meat as mutton.
This week's edition of Harper's Weekly mentioned the American Flag being planted on Georgia soil - on Tybee Island.
Image Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
Harper's Weekly also printed a series of images of Union troops' works on islands off the coast of South Carolina, near Georgia.
Images Courtesy of Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library / University of Georgia Libraries
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