In Their Own Words
July 05, 1861
Letter Mentioned Two Famous Men and Hardships of Camp Life
A Georgia Civil War soldier in Virginia wrote home to his mother; he mentioned two famous people in the letter, and talked of the hardships of camp life - which he was willing to endure to defend his country.
“…We soon encamped five miles from Winchester in the open air and commenced to march again at 3 o’clock and came 13 miles by 10 o’clock in the morning and reinforced General Jackson who was waiting for us. In marching this force[d] march, a great many of the brigade became exhausted and stopped by the way. But I stood the march as well as could be expected and did not give out. We passed about 46 Yankee prisoners on the way that had been captured, all tied and under guard. I merely grit my teeth at them and passed on. … Among our captures is the brother of the celebrated John Brown. … The weather is very cold in the night, and the dews that fall are very heavy and, in this rough manner of sleeping, has given our men severe colds. And four of our immediate company [are] in the hospital… the battle is nothing to the hardships that we endure. We bake our bread on heated rocks and make it up in our haversacks, as we are given flour and have not our cooking utensils with us. We are all buoyed up by the knowledge that we are defending our country, and but for this spirit of patriotism there would be much dissension in our army. Do not think by this that I am dissatisfied, but far from it! …”
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. 22-24.