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In Their Own Words

April 23, 1864

Woman Wrote of Train Near Andersonville, Civil War Situation in Georgia

A young woman in Georgia wrote to her fiance with the army in Virginia, telling him of a train she was riding on breaking down near “Camp Anderson” - meaning Andersonville prison. She also commented on the progression of the war in Georgia.

“…When we were in sight of Camp Anderson on an embankment of ten or fifteen feet the engine ran off down the embankment and jerked all the cars off track, fortunately no one was killed, one lady was wounded by jumping out before the train stopped. The engine and wood box were broken all to pieces. Next box was turned nearly over, the others were merely thrown off track. I was never so badly frightened before. … Johnston’s Army has fallen back to the Chattahoochee river. The Yankees have possession of Marietta and have burned the military Institute. The people think Johnston hasn’t a sufficient number of troops to make a fight. I hear that Gen. Lee is driving Grant back. We have been very fearful that communication would be cut off from that army. I know the soldiers must be awfully tired and worn out marching and fighting so much, and so long. … I forgot to say anything about the Yankee prison at Anderson. We were not nearer the Stockade than the depot which is three hundred yards distant I suppose, well perhaps it may have been farther but anyway we had a plain view of the stockade as we wished. There are from 30 to 35,000 thousand Yankees there now and more are coming in daily. We were told, from 100 to 150 die daily. …”

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. 130-132.