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In Their Own Words

February 26, 1863

Civil War Soldier Wrote of March and Longstreet’s Charge

A Georgia soldier sent one of his friends a detailed letter on the movement from Virginia to Chickamauga, and of the battle there - he had been among the troops in Longstreet’s charge that routed half the Union army.

“…we have been making history of which little time has been afforded us to let our friends know. You will now discover that it was suddenly determined in Richmond to quietly withdraw Longstreet’s corps from General Lee’s army and send it to Bragg to stop the wild careening of our lively friend Rosecrans through Georgia. … So, the generals bundled us up in a lot of cars and in a few minutes, said nothing about where we were going, and away we went for Georgia. We guessed first one thing and then another, but never paused until we pulled up at Ringgold about eight miles from Chickamauga. … At last about 12 o’clock the orders came to advance. On our right the strife and struggle had become perfectly furious. The roar of musketry and the sudden and deep reports of cannon charged with grape shot made a tumult that was sublime. We advanced directly to the front but had no idea what was before us. … Finally, the order was to charge ‘double quick.’ Then the old rebel yell broke from every throat, and a dash was made to the front that was never surpassed. … The good result of this splendid dash can hardly be estimated. It had done the work, for Rosecrans’s center was broken where Hood’s division had struck it. His army was literally cut in two. …”

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), pp. 272-275.