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In Their Own Words

July 06, 1863

Civil War Soldier Waited for News, Attended Funeral

A Georgia soldier writing to his wife from a hospital in Virginia had clearly not heard the news from Gettysburg or Vicksburg yet, but he did attend the services for one soldier who had died at the hospital.

“…I have not heard a word directly from the Reg. since I left it, but I suppose they are in Maryland or Pennsylvania at this time, and from what I can gather from the papers are living high on Pennsylvania goodies. … Six months of the year 1863 have passed and with it the Fourth of July. Preparations were made to have a celebration late in the evening at a College near here, but a heavy rain storm broke it up. … Day before yesterday a man died in this hospital, and was buried yesterday. It is the custom at this hospital when a man is sent off to be buried to detail 6 men to march behind the bier. I was among the number yesterday. It was the first regular soldiers graveyard I ever attended. It is an open field nearly a mile from here. The graveyard is laid off in wards or squares, and fifty one buried in each square. …”

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), p. 75.