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In Their Own Words

July 19, 1864

Civil War Soldier Unhappy about Johnston Being Replaced

A Georgia soldier in Atlanta wrote to his wife, giving her his and some other troops’ opinion on Joseph E. Johnston’s removal as commander of the army. He also told her he needed more clothing, and how much he missed her.

“…General Hood has superseded General Johnston, and there is a great deal of dissatisfaction in the army about it. The Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas troops have threatened to lay down their arms and return home on account of Johnston’s removal. What he was removed for, no one knows. I presume, though, it was for not fighting and allowing the Yanks to penetrate so far into Georgia. I must confess that I am not as much of Johnston man as I have been. He is too cautious, is not willing to risk a battle until he is satisfied he can whip it. … My dearest Wife, I want a suit of some sort, a dark one if you can get one. The one I have is in rags. My pants are out at the seat and knees, but I have not worn my summer pants yet on account of getting washing done. I have washed my shirts twice since I have been here. They were not washed very nicely, but it was better than a black shirt. My darling Camilla, [if] this cruel war would end what would I give! I do want to see you so badly, my darling. It appears like I have [never] seen you and the dear little children. … I think of you, my darling Wife, all the time. I feel lonely and gloomy, but, if I could only get a sight of your dear face, I know my spirits would revive. …”

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. 316-318.