In Their Own Words
February 01, 1865
Soldier Detailed His Return from Furlough
A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, giving her a detailed account of his return trip from a furlough.
“…I am again at ‘home.’ a home I would give anything on earth reasonable to exchange for your home. I arrived yesterday morning, much jaded and half sick. Didn’t leave my room ‘till this morning, having much company and being indisposed to do so. Went to be early last night and slept tolerably under the circumstances, arose early this morning, had breakfast….and am now started to give you a history of my trip, feeling much improved and invigorated by rest… Monday, January 23rd. Left home [Americus], heart sad and heavy. Above [Anderson?], discovered that my gold and silver was gone. Was a shock, of course, and did not lessen the sadness of my heart. Arrived at Macon at 4 P. M…. Tuesday, 24th. Left on the train at 8 for Milledgeville and arrived at Midway at 12… Got a wagon and had my remaining trunk, box and basket [carted] to the river, which was so swollen as to be nearly impassable… Wednesday, 25th. Sun rose bright and clear but wind blew cold and whistling, biting ears, nose, &c. and ice being thick. Started at 8 and after a rather uneventful march of 20 miles over a miserable road and walking most of the way we arrived…just east of Sparta. … Thursday, 26th. Left at daybreak. Weather 11 degrees colder and a heavy northwester whizzing past us. … Made good headway and reached Mayfield to take the 10:40 train. … At Camak stuck in the road at 12… Train from Augusta passed up 1 1/2 hours behind time, and the train to Augusta came not ‘till 9 at night, owing to having exploded her boiler… Friday 27th. …Reached Branchville at noon. Wheeled an angle on to another road and that night at 9 reached Columbia. … Saturday, 28th. …made a rush for the train, which left in a few minutes for Charlotte. …Arrived at Charlotte at sundown… Sunday 29th. Light comes. Here for the first time tried to wash my face but the towel used by another froze so quick I couldn’t dry it and my hair was ice. … Monday, 30th. Arrived at Burkeville JUnction at 8 o’clock A.M. No train for Petersburg and no betting when there would be one. … At 4 o’clock P.M. train arrived and…reached headquarters at 8 A.M., which brings me to the starting point of this letter. …
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), pp. 342-344.