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In Their Own Words

November 12, 1861

Civil War Soldier Eager to Fight

From Yorktown, Va., Georgian Thomas Owen wrote to Sallie R. Merritt back in Georgia indicating his eagerness to do battle with the Yankees:

“The acme of a Southern soldier’s ambition consists in the fervent hope that he be afforded the earliest practicable chance of crossing bayonets with the mercenaries of a despotic tyrant who has without a cause forced upon him the alternative of resistance to servilism and drive him in confusion and dismay from the sacred soil of the sunny South! Their incendiary and sacrilegious tread has already too long polluted and having done this, which is certain to the be the ultimate result of this unhappy imbroglio, return to his home where anxiously awaits him in profuseness the smiles of a mother and sister’s infinite joy and added to this he will have the indescribable and heightened pleasure of basking again in the beauty and angelic sweetness of his Beau Ideal of Love! Oh, the volumes of joy the anticipation of such happiness affords him! It relieves in a great degree the monotony and many of the cares and privations of camp life! … “

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. 84.