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In Their Own Words

August 07, 1862

Sweet Dream Interrupted by Reality

A Georgia Civil War soldier writing home to his aunt told of a sweet dream he had amidst the discomforts of camp life; it was interrupted by reality.

“…The sweetest dream I have had for many a day past I had the other night, sleeping on the top of a fence with a rail, not remarkably flat or broad, for my couch and my gun barrel for my pillow (an iron pillow can hardly be called a ‘downy’ one, do you think?) My dream, of course, had a ‘goddess,’ a sweet little, hazel-eyed girl who lives away down in Georgia and for whom I fell a ‘very tender feeling’ was by my side, my arm was around her waist and her head on my shoulder, and her soft cheek laid most lovingly against mine (the idea of a soft girl cheek laid against my rough, sun burnt, bearded jaw!) and tender words of love were coming from hearts full of love, when alas! alas! the cracking of a stick near by, by an approaching foot, caused me to spring from the embrace of my darling to grasp the cold steel of my gun barrel and from the gentle accents of love to cry out the rough challenge, ‘Who goes there?’ and, instead of the warm breath of the little girl which I had felt on my cheek but a moment before, I wiped from my face the cold night dew and half a groan I turned me to my rail again. …”

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. 177.