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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

February 10, 1865

Soldier Wrote Fiance, Saw Little Hope for Peace

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his fiance, lamenting the loss of friends in battle, but seeing little hope of peace after the failure of the Hampton Roads Peace Conference.

“…It does indeed make me feel sad to see so many of my friends falling around me. Oh for something to stop this destructive conflict. … The ‘Peace Commissioners’ have returned, telling us ‘the argument is exhausted, let us stand by our arms’. They were permitted to go no nearer Washington than Fortress Monroe, at which place they were met by inhuman Lincoln, and the subtle intreguer Seward. Nothing was accomplished, save our Commissioners being told they were rebel traitors… Thus endeth the Peace question, ‘peace to its ashes’. I hope no sensationist will again revive it. I think we all can now see what is the character of our enemies. We can do nothing but await the time when we shall be more powerful than they. To insure such an event. we have to put forth every energy, in the field and at home. The people must encourage the army and all will be well. We have virtually commenced a new war. It does look gloomy; but contrast independence with submission or subjugation. Let every man’s motto be ‘Liberty or death’, and independence is ours. … None are more desirous to obtain peace than I. I have an object to attain to, which would make me forget all the many, many hardships I’ve undergone and render me the happiest among men. If we could gain anything by reconstruction, I would willingly give my consent; but we all know that instead of gaining, we would lose everything. …” Source: Clyde G. Wiggins III (ed.), My Dear Friend: The Civil War Letters of Alva Benjamin Spencer, 3rd Georgia Regiment, Company C (Macon, Mercer University Press, 2007), pp. 183-185.