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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

May 10, 1864

Union Soldier Wrote Letter for Dying Georgia Soldier

A wounded and captured Georgia soldier in Virginia dictated a final letter to his sisters back home, written by an accommodating Union soldier.

“While lying here under the shad of these pines, I am having this man [Union soldier James E. Smith] write a few lines to you to let you know that on last Friday I had the great misfortune to get a very severe wound in the battle of that day by a minie ball. It passed through my left hip very high up and smashed it very badly, and it is so high up that doctor says he can’t do anything for me. After I was shot, I was taken by the enemy and am now at their hospital among their wounded and some few of our are here. The surgeon told me today that there was no hopes of my living. But while there is still life, there is still hopes… . [Smith himself wrote] I would just say to you your Brother is pretty badly wounded, and I think life with him is quite uncertain, although we can’t tell. We are all in the hands of God. I am a Northerner but I always sympathize with affliction. I am sitting by him, have been trying to do what little I can for him. He seems quite resigned and composed. He takes it very patient, and we do all we can for him under the circumstances. … [Smith then closed the letter by stating] “Now he don’t tell me anything more to write, so I must close by saying farewell for him to you.” 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), p. 290.