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In Their Own Words

August 19, 1863

Letter from Wounded Civil War Prisoner

A Georgia soldier who had been wounded and captured at Gettysburg wrote his wife a guarded letter, concerned over who might see it, but he did praise the medical attention he had received.

“…It has been six weeks since I was wounded, and I have not yet been permitted to sit up or even to turn over in my bed. My wound is healing rapidly, though it will be many months before it is entirely well, so say the surgeons. The ball has not been extracted. I think that will not cause serious trouble. I hope to get entirely well, though I have never known a man similarly wounded to live a week after the ball entered the abdomen. God has spared my life through careful medical attention and perfect nursing. … My strength is fast failing. I cannot write more in detail. I suppress names, et cet., to avoid compromising those who risk their liberty on my account, in the event of accident. I shall be removed soon and shall not have another opportunity of writing to you. You will hear from me, however, through others. …”

Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), pp. 179-180.