In Their Own Words
July 23, 1863
Civil War Soldier Wrote of What Army Could Do to Countryside
A Georgia soldier writing to his wife from Mississippi told her of the stress an army could put on a countryside, much to his chagrin. He also confessed he was worried about where the war might be headed, and that he was tired of it.
“…I never knew how mean the army could do in a country. I believe our troops are doing as much harm in this country as the Yankees would do with the exception of burning houses. But our men steal all the fruit, kill all the hogs and burn all the fence and eat all the mutton corn they can camp in reach of. Our army have destroyed as much as 200 acres of corn in one night. We carry ahead of us all the cattle we find and at night they are turned on to some of the finest fields of corn I ever saw. And in fact where this army goes the people is ruined. I am disgusted with such conduct and feel that we will never be successful while our troops are so ungrateful. I dread to see our state invaded, but I hope this war will cease soon. But yet I have no grounds to build my hopes upon, but I and every Southern soldier should be like the rebel flame which flamed more and shined brighter the more it was trampled on. And I believe this scientific warfare will have to cease and we will have to fight like Washington did. But I hope our people will never be reduced to distress and poverty as the people of that day was. But if nothing else will gain us our liberties, I am willing for the time to come. I am truly tired of this unholy war. …”
Source: Mills Lane (ed.),“Dear Mother: Don’t grieve about me. If I get killed, I’ll only be dead.”: Letters from Georgia Soldiers in the Civil War (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), p. 257.