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Dec December

In Their Own Words

December 30, 1862

Civil War Soldier Wrote with Both Good and Sad News

A soldier writing home told of the great victory at the Battle of Fredericksburg, coupled with the sad news of the loss of one of his friends.

“…It was one of the grandest victories that our army has ever gained. While the enemy’s force was double that of our’s, we had the advantage of position and our men were in entrenchments. The result was every attack they made, they were repulsed with great loss. Our men being in their rifle pits and behind stone fences on the side of a bluff, the enemy to advance were compelled to advance through an open field. The line of battle was about four miles long. … It was while we were in our entrenchments that my much esteemed friend R.W. Milner received his fatal wound. He had taken the canteens of several of his company to bring water. While passing after water in the rear of our line, he was struck with a cannon ball about three inches below the shoulder of his left arm, taking it almost entirely off, …Dr. Banks amputated his arm at the shoulder joint. He died the same night about 12 o’clock. …”

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), pp. 208-210.