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In Their Own Words

November 06, 1861

Letter Explained Fighting for Confederacy

From Island Mills, Ga., Ira Woodruf wrote to his cousin Mattie his impassioned view of why he was fighting on behalf of the Confederacy:

“… It is to perpetuate the liberties and honors you proudly enjoy that I leave the bosom of my friends and especially those who lie near to my heart by the kindred ties of relationship that I leave all behind that is sweet to enjoy and march with proud and rapid steps to the rescue and defense of my suffering country. The land of ours has many sweet and delightful associations that proudly cluster around its imperishable history. I go to contest and plead for the rights of that land that gave me birth, which is sacred to me and will ever be as long as memory holds its position in my brain.

“What that dear land shall be polluted by the filthy tread of our enemies that we are now waging an unjust war upon us, I hope that it will take place after my remains sleep in the lonesome grave of the soldier. If it should ever fall to my lot to face the instruments of death, where perhaps cannon balls may rain around me. I shall think of my own sweet friends that I have left behind me. If I fall while fighting for my country, I want you to honor me as a fallen soldier who fought for the honor of his own dear land. If I never meet you again in this world, I hope that we will meet each other in that land of love where our names will glitter like sparkling diamonds upon the tablets of eternity!”

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. 82.