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In Their Own Words

December 23, 1861

Civil War Soldier Described Brutal Weather

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her the brutal weather they were enduring, and what little he could of the Battle of Dranesville.

“…The rain continued until this morning when the ground and trees were covered with ice. By and by, it began to sleet, then to snow, then to rain again. At length, the wind rose and is now blowing guns from the North. The mountains are covered with snow and it is bitter cold. My tent trembles before the fury of the blast; but the fly is clewed down to the sides by a rope noose which in turn is tightly fastened on each side to the ground and thus secured. I laugh at the disappointed howling of the wind. Pity the poor fellows who are on picket this boisterous night! … You will learn from other sources the particulars of the battle of Dranesville on Friday last. It is difficult to decide which was worse beaten, the enemy or ourselves. Of course it was not a fair fight on our part; the odds were four to one. …”

Source: Anita B. Sams (ed.), With Unabated Trust: Major Henry McDaniel’s Love Letters from Confederate Battlefields as Treasured in Hester McDaniel’s Bonnet Box (The Historical Society of Walton County, Inc., 1977), p. 39.