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In Their Own Words

December 05, 1862

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Firing in the Distance

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her how much he wanted to come home, but knowing it was impossible for the time being. He had also heard some distant firing, but did not think a battle was close at hand - he was mistaken on this account - fighting at Fredericksburg would begin in less than a week.

“…I would like for this war to end. You are quite anxious for me to come home, though not more so than I am to come. My dear I see no possible chance to come. We are in the midst of another campaign and I can not tell where or when it will end. … No furloughs are being granted now, neither is any furlough or leave of absence valid unless signed by Gen Lee himself. An officer and guard patroles every railroad train and enforces this order. … We heard heavy firing yesterday last night and today; it is down about the river somewhere. I do not feel much like there will be a general engagement here. It is rumored that the anemy is about four hundred thousand strong, but I do not believe it. …”

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. 190.