In Their Own Words
April 14, 1864
Civil War Soldier Urged Wife to Learn to Shoot
A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, urging her to learn to shoot a gun - both to protect their chickens and to use on any Yankees that might come through Georgia. He also wrote of some bad food, and their preparations for the upcoming spring campaign.
“…I am sorry the hawks catch your chickens so badly. I wish I could be there to kill them. But I reckon I would not do much hawk killing unless I done better than when I was at home. You must get some ammunition and kill them yourself. You can soon learn to shoot, and it might be of great advantage to you, if the Yanks should ever get that low down in Ga. I want women children old men and all to kill them every possible opportunity rather than let them pass through our noble old State. … We have some of the ham you sent me on hand yet, it has been a great help to us sure. We drawed old bacon the last time which is pretty rank sure and takes a stout stomach to conceal it. We drawed some old crackers the other day. Drew and I eat some once, and let the balance rip. We get plenty meal now, but it is a little coarse and not sifted… . The weather is fine and pleasant today and was also yesterday, which is quite a treat to us in one sense of the word at least, but of course will hasten the time of fighting, should it last long. Surplus baggage is being sent to the rear and a standing orders for the commisarys to keep seven days rations on hand, all of which indicates a preparation for the coming conflict. …”
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), p. 136.