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In Their Own Words

March 16, 1862

Letter Described Crowded Civil War Camp

A Georgia soldier writing home to his wife described what it was like in a crowded camp.

“…We are encamped here with four or five thousand others in our little tents which are three breadths of osnaburgs [a heavy, coarse weave of cotton cloth] in length and about two in breadth at the bottom. The bottom of them is covered with pine straw and our blankets and so forth are packed up on one end which with the camp chest forms our whole furniture. We drew from the government two tin pans like our milk pans and a zinc bucket which is all we have to cook or eat with. We are entitled to more but the state officers say they have not got them. The cooking, which is not easy for us at any time, becomes very troublesome with only these implements. We drew yesterday a hand full of salt another of sugar a little coffee and rice and meal and beef and a little bacon and some soap and half a candle. Our tents are scattered for two miles along the Rail Road. Our company has dug a well and cleaned up the ground for our cap which is all they have done. The officers’ tents are situated a short distance in front of ours in a long row and are considerably larger than ours and are double– that is they have an awning or sheet over them, which makes them much drier and more comfortable than ours. Our encampment reminds one of the big house for master and the little houses for servants on the plantation. …”

Source: Milo Grow’s Letters from the Civil War