In Their Own Words
December 17, 1864
Civil War Soldier Wished for War’s End, Underestimated Slaves’ Desire for Freedom
A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his father, telling him how he wished the war would end, how worried he was about him, and how much he missed home. It also showed how many Southerners underestimated slaves’ desire for freedom.
“…I am well at present and enjoying excellent health and would be tolerable well satisfied if I could I would see an end to this dreadful and cruel war. … I am very much afraid the Yankees paid you a visit, as I heard one of our company say that he saw a letter from home stating the Yanks had passed…I am afraid they have destroyed your stock and perhaps stole some of your Negroes off, but I think they surely have better sense than to leave you to follow Yanks. If they have, I guess they will well wish they were back before long if they don’t already. … I fear I shall hear some bad news perhaps that you have been visited by the Yanks and perhaps all you have destroyed by those scoundrels or perhaps you may be in the army, enduring all the hardships and privations of a soldier. … I have travelled enough, seen enough, heard enough to convince me there is no place like home, sweet home. …”
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), p. 338.