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In Their Own Words

August 10, 1864

Letter from Georgia Soldier in Hospital

From a hospital in Griffin, Georgia, Confederate soldier John Davis wrote to his wife and children:

“Oh, my dear. I can’t express myself to you. I am here in a helpless condition, suffering pain indescribable and no hand of a loving Wife to sooth my pain… . Where the ball entered my side, the wound is about the size of a silver dollar. It is so sore I can’t walk… .

“My dear Mary, I am anxious to know where Joel [apparently their son] is… . I will say to you if he has not gone to my regiment, don’t let him go there. It will be a long time before I get back there. That is a hard place. If he has to go anywhere before I get home, he had better sign to the Georgia state troops… .Keep him at home if you [can] until I come… . I have no inclination to screen him from service. I know our country has called for all to defend our homes, and he must go to some place. We have to sacrifice our Sons in our country’s cause. If we die in our country’s cause, it will be an honorable death. It is now liberty or death. Let us defend our homes and loved ones… .”

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. 328.