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In Their Own Words

January 21, 1865

Confederate Soldier Depressed

A month earlier, Confederate forces defending Savannah had retreated across the river into South Carolina. Sherman’s forces were now in pursuit. From Coosawhatchee, Confederate soldier J.H. Jenkins wrote his wife back in Georgia:

“… Sallie, there was a flag of truce come over yesterday to bring some doctors of ours that was captured at Fort McAllister. They say our prisoners is a-faring badly, get only ten ounces of cornbread a day and a few pickles, don’t get any meat… .

“Sallie, I see the citizens of Savannah has held a Union meeting and passed resolutions in favor of going back into the Union. They say they are going to send one copy to the Mayor of Augusta, one to the mayor of Atlanta, one to Macon, one to Columbus and one to the President of the United States. I suppose they treat them very well in Savannah!

“… Sallie, I had the chance of [a] lieutenant[’s] position the other day and would not accept it. I don’t care anything about promotion. All I want is to get out of this war. Salle, when you write me let me know the people’s notions at home about the war. Let me know what your notions are. I will tell you what mine are: I am whipped. Sallie, we are a ruined people. There is no chance for us. Good many of our regiments are deserting. They are in low spirits. Tom Sanders from our county has deserted, but I don’t think I will ever desert. I will stay with them until the war ends or they kill me. I think the best thing we can do is to go back into the Union. The Negroes are certain to be set free. Sallie, we have done all that we can. That’s my notion, Sallie. Remember me in this dark hour of trial.”

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. 339-341.