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In Their Own Words

June 22, 1861

Civil War Soldier Wrote Home to Despondent Wife

Shortly after arriving in Richmond with his unit, William Butt wrote to his wife back in Georgia:

“We are about 2 1/2 miles from the center of Richmond, upon a high elevation stretching out into a beautiful plain, the prettiest place for drilling I ever saw… . Georgia troops are all around us. The Chatooga [sic] Company is about one mile south of us. I found them by accident. I do not know how many Georgia boys are here. There are many other troops. Some on the other side of Richmond. No permanent arrangement has been made for our company yet. We have not yet drawn provisions or arms… .

“… I cannot write a tenth part of what I would. The greatest thought on me has been you. I would feel so much relieved if I felt that you was reconciled. Darling, think of the many thousands that have left home. Think of what an unjust people are endeavoring to do to us, threatening not only our liberties but our lives. What would you think of the Southern people if they quietly give up and submitted? What would you really think of me were I too craven-hearted to resist our great enemy? I would be unworthy [of] your love. As it is, I feel entitled to it! … Kiss the children and my love to all friends, I cannot name them, and remember me to the Negroes. Good by.”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), “Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. I I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), pp. 18-19.