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In Their Own Words

May 30, 1864

Civil War Soldier in Virginia Confident; Heard of Success in Georgia

A Georgia soldier in Virginia was confident of success, as he said in a letter to his fiance; he had also heard of some military success in Georgia.

“…The slaughter of the enemy in the ‘Wilderness’ was immense. The battle was fought in a wilderness indeed no artillery being used except on the left of our line… Grant finding he could do nothing in the ‘Wilderness’, commenced moving his army towards our right in the direction of Fredericksburg, hoping I’ve no doubt to flank Genl. Lee; but he was handsomely foiled by Genl. R.H. Anderson, our former division commander, at that time commanding Longstreet’s Corps, whom, I forgot to mention, as being among the wounded at the ‘Wilderness’. … As Grant is considerably nearer Richmond now than he first crossed the ‘Rapid Ann’., I’m afraid some of the people at home will think that Genl. Lee is outflanked, out-generaled, whipped. Let me tell you that is all entirely a mistake. Our troops were never in better spirits or more confident of success. There only awaits the advancement of the enemy. I think none need feel any fears in reference to this army. I hope and confidently believe all will be well. I believe there is a Divine Providence who watches over us and will bless us and protect us. Today we heard of Genl. Johnston’s victory in the west and I’m confident that fact will greatly increase the courage and determination of our troops. That is the only point we fear. I do hope they and the whole Confederate army may be successful in the approaching struggles, and that God will crown our efforts with a speedy, happy lasting peace. …”

Source: Clyde G. Wiggins III (ed.), My Dear Friend: The Civil War Letters of Alva Benjamin Spencer, 3rd Georgia Regiment, Company C (Macon, Mercer University Press, 2007), pp. 120-122.