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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

April 05, 1862

Fort Pulaski Defender Expressed Anger and Sadness

One of the defenders at Georgia’s Fort Pulaski wrote home to his family on this day; he expressed both anger and sadness concerning the impending attack from Union forces. He was angry at the overwhelming superiority in firepower of the Yankees, and sad to see many of his fellow soldiers bravely preparing for death.

“Yet amidst all of our vindictive feelings and bitter hatreds to our enemy, there is something sad and melancholy in the preparation for battle, to see so many healthy men preparing for the worst by disposing of their property by will, to see the surgeon sharpening his instruments and whetting his saw to take off when necessary those members of our body that God has given us for our indispensable use, to see men engaged in carding up and preparing lint to stop the flow of human blood from cruel and inhuman wounds is awful to contemplate. Yet there is still another preparation for battle still more sickening. The casements are cleared. Nothing is allowed to remain that is combustible or would be in the way during the engagement. Listen! The floor is covered around each gun with sand, not for health or cleanliness, but to drink up human blood as it flows from the veins and hearts of noble men, from those that love and are beloved! This is necessary to prevent the floor from becoming slippery with blood, so as to enable the men to stand and do their duty. These are some of the preparations for battle. How sad to contemplate, yet how awful must be the realization! What a calamity is war!”

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History Written by Those Who Lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), pp. 150-151.