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In Their Own Words

October 08, 1863

Civil War Soldier Ready to March and Fight

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of his regiment’s readiness to march and anticipating a battle. There would be some significant skirmishing in Virginia this month, but the next major battle would not take place until the following spring.

“…by a dim firelight sitting on the ground I will write you a few lines. … We have three days rations cooked and ordered to be ready to march by 5 o’clock in the morning. … I have been hard down at work all day with the others who were left here cooking rations and fixing up to start. I am pretty tired tonight but I fear will be much more so tomorrow night. It is thought we will have a fight in a short time, and this poor letter may be the last one that you will ever receive from me. But I will hope for the better. From what I can learn we are to be the attacking party. … My health is good, and I have a splendid enfield rifle and I hope to be of some service to my country. …”

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp. 92-93.