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In Their Own Words

November 04, 1861

Civil War Soldier Predicted Worse Fighting Ahead

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his wife on this day speculating on what might be in store for the two armies facing each other across the Potomac River - he was correct in believing much more bloodshed was in store.

“…The fickle North is growing impatient at the delay of McClellan’s movements. He is now reduced to the alternatives of fighting on ground of our choice, or of disappointing the confident boastings of his section of the annihilation of Johnston and Beauregard. He cannot now escape one horn of the dilemma. To lie in his intrenchments around Washington is defeat in the eyes of the world; to advance upon Centreville and Manassas will be defeat and rout if the history of the campaigns of the Summer and Fall indicate anything. Which horn will he choose? Will he fight or not? Very many persons high in command think he will, and that in a short time. Should he advance upon the lines of Centreville and the Bull Run, this continent will be shaken by the concussion of the two armies. The carnage at Manassas will be child’s play, compared to what would follow. …”

Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), pp. 26-27.