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In Their Own Words

December 18, 1862

Report from Reserve Civil War Soldier at Fredericksburg

A Georgia soldier who had served as a reserve at Fredericksburg, after fighting in the front lines at Antietam, wrote home about the experience.

“…I write to relieve any apprehension you may feel on my account because of the great battle of Fredericksburg. Our division, having been in the front at the last battle [at] Sharpsburg, Maryland, was put in the third line of battle here. On Saturday morning, after a very exhausting and cold march the night before, we laid under a terrible cannonading from the enemy, while the troops in front of us were engaging them in musketry. …On Monday morning…the Yankees sent in a flag of truce, asking permission to bury their dead left on the field during the two preceding days. It was refused by General Lee, because informal. They went back and returned with a proper one, upon which was granted a suspension of hostilities. Then could be seen our own men and their men mingling by the hundreds, conveying the Yankee dead, with which the whole earth was strewn…”

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. 201.