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In Their Own Words

November 04, 1861

Two Civil War Soldiers Wrote of Being Sick

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his children telling them of being sick - as were most of the men in his company.

“…The mountains are all covered this morning with snow. I have a hot fever. My throat is swollen twice its size, and I cannot speak above a whisper, having to sleep in mud and water all night. I am quite ill and threatened with pneumonia. Tell your Mother to send me a pair of leggings. I must lie down again in mud and water, as I cannot sit up any longer. We have this morning only two men [fit] for service. …”

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. 81-82.

Another Georgia soldier writing home to his wife had a similar story to tell.

“…I am quite sick and have been for some days though I hope and think nothing serious. I have had fever of a billious type and been badly salivated and have suffered very much with my throat but I hope I am now improving. Don’t suffer any uneasiness about me, for if I get dangerously ill I will write you immediately. I feel something better tonight than I have felt. The health of our company is bad at this time, at least half sick at this place. No recent deaths amongst us. Our sick are generally convalescent and I hope will get well soon. We have had some white frosts which I hope will be an advantage to our sick men. …”

Source: Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon (eds.), “Campaigning with ‘Old Stonewall’: Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen’s Letters to his Wife (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998), p. 63.