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In Their Own Words

May 22, 1864

Lull in Atlanta Campaign

From Bartow County, Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry wrote to his wife about a lull in battle during Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign:

“This is a much pleasanter Sunday morning than it was a week ago, not in point of weather alone, but it is more Sunday like. No booming of cannon, no rattling of musketry, no ordering voices harsh with excitement, no shrieks of wounded, no groans of dying, no confusion of battle disturbs the holy quiet of the Sabbath Day. A week ago the riot of human weakness, folly and passion seemed to contend with the goodness of God and for a time almost to gain mastery over it; Nature was calm and placid, the happy birds sung merrily in green boughs, the air was balmy and soft, all betokened the beneficence of the Ruler above, but man converted this scene of peaceful calm to a Pandemonium of terror and destruction until Night kindly threw its mantle over the scene and screened the combatants from each other’s view Brave men may, but I believe there are very few, if any, who take delight in battle, and very few who in the heat of an engagement will not welcome the coming night as that of a friend who will stop the fierce wrangle and bring relief to the struggling men. There is something so providentially kind in it to those who have survived the dangers of the day, in the fall of night upon the battle field. It brings relief to the anxious heart and inspires it with gratitude to God for the favors shown during those hours of danger. I have just obtained leave for my Quartermaster to go to Chattanooga for my valise. He will take this letter. There are all sorts of rebel movements in circulation. We have great faith in our generals. It seems to me that Sherman has displayed the qualities of a very able and energetic general. We had a circular from him this morning, in which he said that all reports about his suppressing mail communications between soldiers and their friends at home were false; that, on the contrary, he encouraged such correspondence and wished all subordinate commanders to take measures to make the mall service in the field as efficient as possible; the only thing he discouraged was the idlers who traffic in news injurious to the army. I rode over to Cassville last night; it is quite a pretty village with several churches but deserted and desolate.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page