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In Their Own Words

September 02, 1864

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Horrible Train Accident

A Georgia soldier on his way back to Virginia after being home on furlough wrote to his uncle about a horrible train accident. The Confederates had tried to move a train load of wounded men from Atlanta, but had not informed railroad officials, causing a collision that killed thirty-one and injured many more. This soldier had hitched a ride on the train on his way back to Virginia.

“…We had a collision between Milner Station and Barnesville. A great many are killed and wounded. The most awful time I ever seen. Thank God I am alive, I jumped off the train, hurt my leg and skinned my face but slightly. I am able to walk. Please send word to Molly that I am safe and gone on to my command as soon as you get this. Oh; God, what an awful time, while I write hundreds of mangled forms lie groaning and howling around and again I say thank God. …”

Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet’s Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), p. 281.