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In Their Own Words

January 10, 1863

Georgia Soldier Letter on Battle of Murfreesboro

A week after the Battle of Murfreesboro, Georgia soldier John Johnson wrote to his parents and brother and sister from Tennessee:

“You have heard of the Battle of Murfreesboro no doubt and would like to hear how I came out. I have been in places that I can’t see for my life how I came out safe. I am tempted to say that a Yank can never kill me. I am Yankee-proof! I was in the fight three days with about fifteen of my company that was not captured. We had non killed. We had two horses killed. In the fight on Wednesday, I taken seven prisoners, five at one time. I saw them across a field and run my horse in about 200 yards of them and said, “Halt!” They did not. I fired my gun, the ball passing so near them they pulled off their hats. I then ran up near and taken them. My gun being empty, they thought I had another. Neither of them had any gun. They had thrown them away in the stampede… .

“This battle is one of the severest I ever read of, but we whipped them badly. I slept on the field two nights, and there was then Yanks killed to our one. This is so, for I counted them myself. [The actual casualties for the entire battle were Union - 1677 killed, 7543 wounded, and 3686 missing; Confederate - 1294 killed, 7945 wounded, and 2500 mission.] …”

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. 212.