In Their Own Words
May 16, 1864
Civil War Soldier Finally Got Break to Write Wife
A Georgia soldier who has been involved in the fighting in Virginia finally got a chance to write home to his wife.
“…Thanks be unto a merciful God that after twelve or fourteen days marching and fighting, I am still spared to say ‘My dear Molly.’ … I have made many narrow escapes and passed through many dangers. I had one of my friends, a Mr. Curry killed by my side. The other night while asleep, he and I were sleeping together, the ball struck him in the breast, he awoke me struggling, but before I could get a light he was dead, poor fellow, he never knew what hit him. … I fear the fighting is not over yet as the enemy [is] still on this side [of] the river. We are now in front of Fredericksburg, the enemy on this side between us and the town. We are ready for them and waiting for them to come, we have whipped them very badly at all points. … General Bryan is still safe, thank God. He has paid me quite a compliment and says he will mention my name in his report for my gallantry on Friday’s fight in rallying the men in the midst of the fight. All the honor that I ask [for], is to get home after our independence is gained to enjoy the love and affection of my dearest wife and sweet little children. … Molly, my mind is not composed and you must excuse this badly written letter but the most important [thing] is to know that I was still safe on the 16th of May. As for the morn, let us trust in God and leave the routine in his hands.”
Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet’s Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), pp. 257-259.