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In Their Own Words

September 05, 1861

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Illness and Homesickness

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his mother and friends, noting the many sick around him and how homesick he was himself.

“…I was glad to hear from you. It gives me pleasure for my friends to be so kind to send their respects to me. It checks my feelings so to read a letter from any of you that I can’t keep from crying to save my life. I cried hearty when I read my Mother’s few lines that she wrote. You want me to write the truth but I can only write what I see to be the truth for we can’t hear it. Times is bad here and getting worse. There is so much sickness here. There is about 250 sick in this regiment. They are dying dayly. There has been about 15 died since last Sunday morning. …The sick is just lying thick through the camps on a little straw with their knapsacks under their heads or something else. It’s like Brutus to see a man die in such places but they can’t help theirself for Col. Cobb wont allow them to be moved out of camp if he can help it but the most of them get their friends to go out and get a house for them and then we steal them off to the house. Five or six of our sick ones run away the other evening and went to private houses. We have 42 sick in our company. …”

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.24-25.