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In Their Own Words

August 28, 1863

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Theft of Shirt and Execution of Deserter

A Georgia soldier writing home to a friend told of losing his shirt - literally - and of a much more serious crime.

“…I’ve got a very bad cold this morning after washing yesterday. I washed my clothes and had to go without a shirt till it got dry. I wore the skin off my hands rubbing. I washed 2 shirts, 1 pair of drawers, and 1 pair of pants. I hung them out to dry and some fellow taken one of my shirts off of the bush so I lost the shirt and my labor… There is one of the 10th Ga Regiment to be shot to death with musketry tomorrow for deserting his colors in time of battle. It is bad enough to be shot without the name of deserting. Bud Nash has deserted. He has been gone about 1 month. He run out of fights just as long as he could without being courtmartialed so I reckon he thought he would leave for good. But he might a been gone long since for all the good he has ever done. I do reckon I’ve as little sympathy for a deserter as anybody in the world! …”

Source: Elizabeth Whitley Roberson, In Care of Yellow River: The Complete Civil War Letters of Pvt. Eli Pinson Landers to His Mother (Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 1997), pp.134-135.