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In Their Own Words

December 30, 1861

Letter Told of Growing Hatred Between North and South

A Georgia Civil War soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of the hatred building between the opposing sides in the war, and of his respect for the new Union commander.

“…Every day it is becoming more and more apparent that the long-smouldering hatred of the two nations equals in intensity anything of the kind recorded in history. The Yankees are fighting for subjugation, for conquest, for power. It is natural that we should now hate each other. We have routed their armies; they have been foiled of the anticipated results of this or that grand expedition, of this or that invading host. With a mandacity that finds no parallel amongst the lairs of ancient Crete, they have attributed their reverses to our superiority of numbers, to masked batteries, to incompetent officers, to whatever might tend to soothe the bitterness of defeat and disappointment. But mark, they invariably enlist more powerful armies; they pour out treasure by hundreds of millions; they raise new military idols into command. They humbled McDowell and dismissed, decently dismissed, the hoary-headed old traitor Scott to give place to the young McClellan, the most dangerous man with whom we have to contend. For he is full of genius and resource. …”

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. 43.