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In Their Own Words

July 30, 1862

Civil War Soldier Wrote of Getting Accustomed to Combat

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his wife, telling her of a fellow officer who liked to drink, but was good at fighting. He also talked of getting accustomed to combat.

“…Col M is still in Richmond. Did I tell you that he was under arrest for getting drunk on the eve of the fight. There are some things about this man that I do abominate, still I have much confidence in him as an officer. Some of the men are very much displeased with him; while others say ‘give me Mercer drunk in preference to anybody else sober when we fight.’ I can place very little confidence in a man who is habitualy a drunkard. We are going to move. I have not time to write much more, neither have I much to write. Who can write anything more than generalities when evrything is in a figit. I think we will meneveur around yet untill we get into a fight up to our hatbands. I would be glad if was not necessary for us to fight anymore. Four battles and two skirmishes aught to satisfy most any one. As I told Mr. Reid to tell you, I have glory enough. However we are getting tolerably well used to it if it possible for a person to do so. It is possible to a great degree. …”

Source: Randall Allen and Keith S. Bohannon (eds.), “Campaigning with ‘Old Stonewall’: Confederate Captain Ujanirtus Allen’s Letters to his Wife (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998), p. 134.