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In Their Own Words

February 18, 1863

Georgia Soldier Letter from Vicksburg

From Vicksburg, Confederate soldier William Chunn wrote to his wife back in Georgia:

“It has been raining almost incessantly for four days and nights, making it quite impossible to walk anywhere on foot. The roads are in a wretched condition, and it is with difficulty we can transport our supplies from the city which is only a mile distant… The soldier is now truly drinking the bitter dregs of war. But notwithstanding the hardships, you would be surprised what degree of endurance they display and the cheerfulness they exhibit. Never in the annals of history was thee recorded such deeds of noble daring, such heroism and such disinterested patriotism. I think the Confederate soldier has proven to the world that he is eminently worthy to wear the laurel of victory and enjoy in peace the dear old hearthstones and the society of those loved ones that at nightfall cluster around its cheerful firelight.

“Although it has seemingly been clearly demonstrated that we are worthy of liberty and peace, how backward are foreign nations to recognize the fact. Yet we find nations, like individuals, loath to extend a helping or sympathetic hand, unless it is to their pecuniary interest to do so. It is money that controls the human heart! It is to the ‘shining God’ that man bows a willing suppliant. The theory of recognition and foreign intervention has long ago been exploded, and I must confess that I am not sorry of it, for that fatal delusion will no longer deceive us. We are now thoroughly convinced that the only hope of peace is in our prayers to the Almighty God and the proper use of our own stalwart arms… .”

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. 222.