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In Their Own Words

May 18, 1864

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Battles in Georgia, Little Hope for Independence

A Georgia soldier in Cassville, Georgia wrote to a friend, telling of the battles they had fought, but despairing of gaining independence.

“…I am happy to inform you that I am yet in the land of the living and am well as common with the exception of being worn out marching, hope these few lines may soon find you in the best of health. Frances, I am sorry to inform you that we have fall[en] back. We have retreated about 60 miles and are yet retreating. But, my dear Frances, we have seen hard times for the last two weeks. We went into line of battle the 7th of this month, and we have had some powerful hard fighting, and the tyrannical foe has outdone us. They come on us with such overwhelming forces that we could not hold our hand with them. But they did not attack us in front. They flanked us out of our breastworks, got in our rear. I expect this has been the bloodiest battle that has ever been fought during this war. We fell back near Resaca and fought them again, and it was hard. We lost a powerful [number] of good men killed and wounded, and we had to run and leave them lying on the battlefield, and they have been fighting us all the way and are still pursuing us until today. … I tell you, Frances, we will soon be back to our [own] country. I am sorry to think we have to fall back and overrun our country. So I am out of all hopes of us ever gaining our independence. We are a ruined people. Our little government is gone up. Where we have already come, we have ruined Georgia, and the enemy is still behind us finishing it. … I hope that peace will soon be made, but there is no chance for it in our favor. We were wrong at first. I have been of that opinion all the time. We will fall back again tonight. …”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 293.