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In Their Own Words

May 23, 1864

Two Civil War Soldiers Wrote from Virginia

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife; he had been heavily involved in the fighting around Spotsylvania Court House, and was getting a brief reprieve.

“…This morning we moved a few miles farther down and stoped here in a pine grove where we have been for several hours. We are neither in line of battle or in Camps and I presume will move again soon. Grant would not fight us again in our breastworks, and move down the river towards Richmond and of course Lee had to move too. I understand some of the troops are throwing up works near here. I would not be surprised if we have another fight somewhere along here. I can hear skirmishing and occasionally a canon not far off. We had a considerable skirmish fight the evening we left up near Spotsylvania C.H. We advanced to find out if the yankees were gone. We soon came in contact with their skirmishers and a brisk engagement ensued. We drove them a good long ways till we came up with too strong a force for us, who were well fortified. We then retreated and that night commenced our march down to this place. My feet stood the march pretty well but I am poor and thin and am tired down. I wish old Grant had fought us up there but he knew we would whip him there, and he wants to try another place. …”

Source: Jeffrey C. Lowe and Sam Hodges (eds.), Letters to Amanda: The Civil War Letters of Marion Hill Fitzpatrick, Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1998), pp.146-147.

Another Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote to his wife - he was a courier and had many close calls.

“…I think our people had as well expect a long siege of Richmond. Grant is no doubt going to try Richmond like Vicksburg and you may be assured that I will write when I can but you must not be uneasy if you should not get my letters. … I have seen very hard times for the last twenty days and passed through many dangers and had many narrow escapes. … I had many shots near me but God has spared my life thus far….”

Source: Ronald H. Moseley (ed.), The Stilwell Letters: A Georgian in Longstreet’s Corps. Army of Northern Virginia (Macon: Mercer University Press, 2002), pp. 260-261.