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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

January 07, 1863

Soldier Wrote of Giving Humanitarian Aid to Yankees

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of how he sometimes gave aid even to Yankees on the battlefield.

“…Tell B that it is not timidity but humanity that causes me or any other soldier to assist or alleviate the sufferings of a dying anemy on the battlefield. He may think he would not assist one: but I know him too well. He could not resist when a poor dying mortal said, ‘for God’s sake spread my blanket to keep me from freezing. I’m shot through the lungs or abdomen, or my thigh is torn to pieces.’ Or another with palid countenance and sunken eyes mutters almost too inarticulate to be heard as he looks at your canteen ‘one drop, just one drop.’ When necessary and anything is at stake I can pass among the wounded and dead as carelessly as if they were stones. Happily we are not always called upon for such exebitions of feeling. Our men will give a wounded Yankee the last drop of water they have if none of our wounded are about…” Source: Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon (eds.), “Campaigning with ‘Old Stonewall’: Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen’s Letters to his Wife (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998), p. 206.