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In Their Own Words

March 06, 1864

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Long Marches and Unexpected Visitors

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife; he told her of the arduous march he had made from one camp to another, including some unexpected visitors. Apparently girls were not often seen in the Army!

“…The morning we started from the valley it was raining. In the evening it sleeted awhile and then commenced snowing and continued snowing till after dark. We marched about 22 miles that day and camped on the Blue Ridge Mountains near the top. It was an awful time. … The next day was a pretty day and we stopped before night in a good place. The next day we marched 25 miles and stopped after night on a steep hillside. That day we came through Charlottesville. A short time ago the Yanks made a raid above Charlottesville and burnt a bridge across the Rivana River, and we had it to wade. … While speaking of the first days march I forgot to mention that we crossed the Shenandoah River, in two flat boats, that were carried over with poles. There was considerable excitement in the Brigade there and along before we got there, in consequence of two young girls that were with some soldiers in the 49th Ga. They were dressed in men’s clothes or rather in a soldier’s garb and were following the Brigade on foot. It was soon rumored all through the Brigade that they were of the fair sex and their face and hair also betrayed them, and everybody wanted to get a look at them. After they crossed the river Gen. Thomas found it out and had them put back on the other side with orders to remain there. .. The yanks made a raid on the railroad above Richmond a short time ago and burnt some bridges and tore up the road apiece, but it has been repaired and the cars I learned passed through again yesterday. The yanks seem to be determined to trouble us all they can. We could have come a much shorter route from the Valley here if it had not been for them, as it was we had to wind all about and march much further and harder. When on their raid above Charlottesville they done much mischief. … I am anxious to hear from you and my boy again. You must answer this as soon as you rec. it, and give me all the news. … I will close up. May God bless you. Pray for me. …

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp. 124-125.