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In Their Own Words

March 21, 1864

Short Rations, Cold Weather, Happy Memories in Letter

A Georgia Civil War soldier stationed in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of short rations and cold weather, then reminiscing about happier times and hoping the war will end soon so he can get back to his family.

“…I have had the belly ache for about a week and have fared pretty badly but am much better now and hope to be well soon. It was not eating too much this time dead sure for our rations are rather slim, but still we get enough to make out with finely. We draw sugar and coffee enough to have some nearly every time we eat. We draw corn meal most of the time now. … It is cold and windy now. We have a good large tent fixed up on logs and tightly dobbed and sleep warm and comfortable. Eight of us sleep in it. … I was sorry to hear of the death of Russ Davis. Like you, I often think of the happy times we had there in our young days, and the scene enacted while riding along the road not far from there, when I asked a blushing girl of fifteen summers to be mine, and she would not consent. Well Cout, we have had many trials since then and a hard road to travel, but that was the last quarrel we had. I often wonder how you ever managed to love me. I was so much older and uglier than you but I suppose a woman can do anything she sets her head to. I was 29 the 18th of this month but the day passed off without my thinking about it. … I think and highly hope that this war will end this year, and Oh then what a happy time we will have. No need of writing then but we can talk and talk again, and my boy can talk to me and I will never tire listening to him and he will want to go with me everywhere I go… So, hoping for these good times, let us cheer up and go forth with renewed vigor and energy. Pray for me. May God bless you. …”

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. 127-130.