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In Their Own Words

May 20, 1864

Letter from Wisconsin Soldier in Georgia

From near Cassville in Bartow County, Maj. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry wrote to his wife of the status of his unit in Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign:

“… We are to have one more opportunity to write, two days of rest, and then another campaign, apparently of extraordinary rigor. We have a fly net and have put it up for our inner apartment, while our sitting room has a roof of green boughs, which affords a very nice, cool shade in these hot days. We found a few boards which made a good table, and with a few chairs we are comparatively comfortable. We also have plenty of fresh meat now, and were so lucky as to get some dried apples and some corn meal. I shall tell you of the secrets of our army movements. I know you will not communicate it either to rebel spies or to the press. Well we have a big order from General Sherman today, in which he directs the points at which the troops are to be massed, and says that they must be ready to march on the 23rd in light fighting order with twenty days’ rations and haversack and wagons, so as to be independent of the railroad. The rations are reduced and the deficiency is to be supplied by foraging. As we are to go through a country where there is no lack of beef cattle, this doubtless means a move on a large scale and another march, probably a battle, and I hope a decisive victory. It is doubtful whether I will be able to send you a letter during these twenty days. The bugle is blowing for dress parade, and the mail is to be taken off.”

Source: Civil War Letters of Major Fredrick C. Winkler, in 26th Wisconsin Infantry Volunteers Home Page