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In Their Own Words

October 08, 1861

Civil War Letter Mentioned Brother Fighting Brother

From Camp Bartow, Virginia, Shephard Pryor of the 12th Georgia Infantry wrote to his wife:

“… To sit about in camp is dull business, but the most of our men have been since the fight pretty actively engaged at work cutting down trees and digging ditches. We are making this quite a strong place by fortifying. Since the fight, men work more cheerful. They know the need of it and the good it does.

“We haven’t heard from the enemy but once since the fight. Two [Union] Captains and a Sergeant came in with a white flag bearing a letter to General Jackson. They wanted to move the bodies of two of their men killed the day of the fight. The General sent them back without them, as the note had some informality about it. They were nice-looking men and looked like perfect gentlemen. One of them said that he had a brother that was a Colonel of a regiment of our army somewhere in Virginia. This is an awful thing: for a brother to be fighting against brother. This war is an awful thing! To look at it the best you can it injures both parties. Even the side that has the advantage, it injures more or less. And as for the end of it, dear, I think it has just begun and would not be a bit surprised if it last four years… . I pray for its speedy termination. I know that I am satisfied with it. I don’t want to hear any more cannon balls. I don’t like the sound much. There appears to be something wicked in the sound of them, as they fly through the air.”

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. 75.