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In Their Own Words

May 15, 1864

Captured Georgia Civil War Soldier Learned of Mother’s Death

A Georgia soldier who had been wounded and captured in the Gettysburg campaign wrote home to his father from a prison in Ohio - he had just learned of his mother’s death.

“…I am inexpressibly grieved and shocked at the intelligence of my mother’s death. The last letter received from you (Jan’y 8th) warned me to expect something of the kind before the end of the year, but intelligence subsequently received from Carrie Sanders represented her condition as much improved, and my hopes revived. It cannot be other than a source of poignant regret and pain to me that I was not permitted to minister to her in her last illness. Hard fate that separated all the children from their mother’s deathbed, especially to the boys and myself who have nursed her through the years she has been an invalid! I am glad to feel that you ‘mourn as one not without hope.’ It is easy to render many dispensations of Providence bearable when one’s reason can calmly contemplate them in all their aspects. Perhaps I ought to have acquired such a state of mind, perhaps I have in some respects. This affliction is more trying than any I have yet experienced. …”

Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), pp. 191-192.