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In Their Own Words

August 01, 1864

Civil War Soldier Survived Horrifying Ordeal

A Georgia soldier in a hospital in Griffin wrote to his family about his horrifying ordeal after being wounded at Battle of Peachtree Creek.

“…I am yet alive and doing as well as could be expected, though I have been almost at death’s door. I gave up for gone, but, thanks be to God, He sees fit to raise me, I hope, again. … I was wounded in a charge on the 20th. The ball entered by left side just below the ribs and ranged down, struck the hip bone, glanced ‘round to the back bone, there lodged. I was picked up in a few hours by friends I shall never forget and toted a mile and a half to the doctor. He probed after the ball, could not get it, said it had entered my hollow. He could do nothing for me and left me to die. I lay without any attention two days and nights. I could not be moved without fainting. I was brought to this place Friday at night in a dying condition to all appearances. I was as helpless as an infant and [there were] maggots in my wound by thousands. The doctor went to work with me. He got them all out on Saturday evening, he put me under the influence of chloroform and cut the ball out. It never entered my hollow. I am now mending as fast as can be, though I can’t walk yet. But I can begin to stand on my feet a little. I sit up in my bed a good deal the last few days. I feel now that I will get well soon, so I can come home. …”

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. 323-324.