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In Their Own Words

October 16, 1864

Civil War Soldier Described Petersburg Shelling

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, describing his day, the weather, and how the people of Petersburg had adjusted to the shelling of the city.

“…My health is excellent at this time and I am getting on finely. I have a good amount of walking to do which just gives me a good appetite, an article which I am very seldom in need of whether I walk much or not. Today is Sunday. I rose early this morning and went to a spring about 150 yds. distant which spouts through a trough and took a good wash[,] eat breakfast and then went down on the line to the four Companies nearest to us and got the reports from them, returned and am now sitting in our little room. … I will finish and then go to the remaining six Companies and get their reports, come back and eat dinner and probably go to town for evening preaching. This will give you a small idea of of my daily avocation, though it varies to a great extent some days. We have beautiful weather now, cool or rather cold at night, and fair and pleasant in the day time. … All is quiet on the lines this morning but there was heavy shelling last night, and a few shells were thrown into Petersburg yesterday evening, for the first in some time. I was in town myself at the time, and one shell fell near me but did not explode. The citizens do not seem to care for it atall scarcely. The ladies were promenading the streets at the time and did not even quicken their pace. …”

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.177-178.