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In Their Own Words

July 31, 1864

Flies Plagued Soldier

Today, it was flies rather than Confederates that Lt. Col. Fredrick Winkler of the 26th Wisconsin Infantry worried about, as he wrote his wife:

“Our brigade is on the extreme right flank of the army now and has turned to the rear, facing west, so as to prevent the turning of the flank. There is no enemy in our front, except some cavalry patrolling, and there is no prospect of a fight here. The enemy has fared so ill in all his attacks that he won’t venture another. We would like to have him try it here, nothing would afford the 26th more pleasure than to see the enemy attach them in their breastworks. We have built miles of breastworks, but have never yet fought in any of them. I have not seen an honest blade of grass in Georgia; our horses look poor; the heat and flies are hard on them, and feed so poor and scanty. While one big ny [?] is our shelter and comfort, there are thousands of little flies which are the greatest annoyance. They are everywhere, swarming in clouds in the air, settling like locusts on our sugar, mixing like spice with our apple sauce, and floating like ducks in our coffee and tea.”

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