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In Their Own Words

August 06, 1864

Soldier Wished Army in Georgia was as Good as One in Virginia

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his fiance, telling her of the Battle of the Crater and unfortunately expressing some of the racist sentiments of the time. He also wished the Confederate army in Georgia was as good as the one in Virginia, and had the usual things to say about Yankees in general - in a sarcastic manner.

“…Since I last wrote, again has the two opposing armies in Virginia, met in deadly strife. On the morning of the 30th July, the enemy sprung one of their mines in front of our lines, charging simultaneously with the explosion and succeeded in capturing a portion of our lines… About sunrise three brigades of our division…were ordered from the right of our lines to the point at which the explosion occurred. Immediately upon their arrival, a charge was ordered… . The works were carried & the enemy driven back to their old position. Upon the arrival of our troops at the breastworks, they found to be filled with real sure enough niggers crying no quarter! no quarter! As they were the first colored troops our troops had ever seen, you may rest assured “no quarter” was shown. An indiscriminate butchery commenced, and hardly a negro remained to tell the story. … Our loss was heavy indeed. We have to mourn many dear friends, whose lives have been sacrificed to their country. Nearly every regimental commander was killed. … Just think of our brave men being murdered by cruel heartless negroes. Isn’t it enough to render the Yankeys more despicable, if possible, than ever? … Oh how I do long for this cruel war to end & such barbarities with it. … Since the 4th of May, our arms have been signally victorious. Almost everywhere except in Georgia, we’ve met with unprecedented success. It seems as if that department has been & is now our only drawback. I believe we would long since have had peace if that army could have equalled the successes of the ‘Army of Northern Virginia’. … The people of Yankeydom seem to be somewhat enraged & frightened at the destruction of part of Chambersburg, Penn. I wonder if they ever think of how many Southern homes have been made desolate, by their ruthless raiders. They, when their homes are burned, are very quick to cry out against such warfare; proclaiming it barbarous and inhumane. They are a wonderfully consistent people. Everything they do is right. ‘Tis to be devoutly wished they may soon meet their just rewards. …”

Source: Clyde G. Wiggins III (ed.), My Dear Friend: The Civil War Letters of Alva Benjamin Spencer, 3rd Georgia Regiment, Company C (Macon, Mercer University Press, 2007), pp. 137-141.