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In Their Own Words

November 06, 1864

Cold Weather, Rare Political Opinion Shared in Letter

A Georgia Civil War soldier in Virginia wrote home to his fiance, telling her of the cold weather, a political opinion not shared by most southerners, and attending church.

“…Winter has come, and with it our sufferings have commenced. Every morning the ground is covered with thick white frost. For the past two or three days the wind has been blowing a perfect gale. There is no comfort at all standing round a fire built out of doors, which you know is the kind we have. Some of the soldiers have dug holes in the ground, and manage to keep themselves quite comfortable, if nothing calls them off. ‘Tis said we will soon receive large tents, I don’t believe it, tho’, we’ve been promised that too often. … I believe we will have peace sooner by the election of Lincoln than by the election of McClellan. The former will fail to gain the support of the people & thereby cause a division, while the election of the latter will cause a uniting of the North, upon a new principle of conducting the war, and divide the South by offering peace upon a reconstruction of the Union. A great many would undoubtedly accede to such a proposition. So after all I’ve become a rabid Lincolnite, what do you think of it? … I went to church in Petersburg this morning and listened to a most interesting sermon. I attended the Methodist church. There was quite a large congregation present. The church being in an exposed portion of the city and thereby subject to being struck by shells from the guns of the enemy, you would think it dangerous, at least imprudent for ladies to attend; but strange to say, it has so far been untouched. I attend almost every Sunday, when all is quiet along the lines. …”

Source: Clyde G. Wiggins III (ed.), My Dear Friend: The Civil War Letters of Alva Benjamin Spencer, 3rd Georgia Regiment, Company C (Macon, Mercer University Press, 2007), pp. 170-172.