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In Their Own Words

September 27, 1861

Coaxing a Ride in Rough Country

A Georgia Civil War soldier in Virginia wrote home to his aunt, telling her or coaxing a ride from a reluctant wagoner, and of the rough country where he was stationed.

“…I and one of the Dalton Guards started on together, came up with a wagon that was empty. It was stopped. I commenced getting in, the wagoner commenced cussing me, swore that I should not ride, said he would pull me out. I kept talking good to him, told him I was the best friend he had, was going to fight for him. He swore it was not so, said every man fools himslef in this country. It would [have] done you good to hear us talking, but we got to ride…. This is the roughest country I ever saw. You might think the mountains about home were rough, but if you were here you would give it up that this is the worst. Some of the boys say they give up all hopes of ever getting back home now. They say that this country is not worth one man’s life, while others seem to be a-satisfied. I intend to make the best of it I can, and I can’t help but feel that I will meet you all again at home. If not on earth, I have strong hopes of meeting you all with my friends that have gone before in Heaven. …”

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), p. 70.