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In Their Own Words

August 02, 1862

Companions Made Long Marches Tolerable

A Georgia Civil War soldier writing home to his father told of a person in his company who managed to make long marches more tolerable.

“…You hear but little talking now, and, with the exception of two of three in each company whose spirits and life never seem to flag, everyone seems to be very earnest and abstracted, some tremendously earnest. These exceptions I mention are perfect jewels. They are the life and soul of the march, relieving the tedium of the trip and bringing all more or less into good humor. We have one boy in our company who is especially blessed in this respect, I would not leave him behind on a march for a pretty. While in camp you hardly hear from him, but, just start the march, let the dust begin to rise and the sun to beat down on us or, on the other hand, let it pour down rain and the mud get half leg deep and the men get cold and wet and cross, and then is the time for ‘Wash Poe’s’ funny remarks to begin, and the more hostile and gloomy matters get to be, the more ‘Wash’ seems to enjoy himself. I can laugh heartily at him when I am so tired I can scarcely put one foot before the other, and one good laugh is worth a half hour’s rest. …”

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), p. 174.