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In Their Own Words

August 14, 1862

Hardships of War Described in Letter

From Tazewell, Tenn., Georgia volunteer William Looper wrote to his parents about some of the hardships he and others faced while in Confederate service:

“… I think we ought to have a furlough or to be allowed to rest awhile. Some of our company have been home two or three times, and some have not been with us a month all put together. It seems we can’t get to go home or be permitted to stop [unless] we pretend to be sick, which we will not do. We frequently go on when we are not able rather than ask permission to stop.

“We have been fed very poorly during the last month. Sometimes we have been without food for three days at a time and hardly ever have half enough to eat. Part of the time we have bread and no meat, then meat and no bred, then neither.We must not grumble lest some of those we have left behind might consider themselves called upon to contribute something for the relief of the soldiers and their families! By and by, would not this be a good time for those who said they would ‘sink the last dollar’ in the cause of the South to untie their purse strings and give the South a little, just a little, of what they worship?

“There is much complaint about extortion at home and not without cause. The way things are sold now, the poor soldier and his family cannot procure the necessaries of life. Those having such articles and holding them at exorbitant prices are doing us more injury than our enemies of the North… .”

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. 179