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In Their Own Words

November 25, 1861

Civil War Soldier Wrote Home Describing Sickness

A Georgia soldier in Virginia wrote home to his family, telling them of being sick, but now recovering and helping to nurse others. He wanted the war to end because of so much suffering and sickness, not because of any fighting.

“…I have been very sick, but I think that I am as well as ever, only I am weak yet. And I hope that I shall enjoy good health, as I have taken a great deal of medicine. I have had the very best of attention. There is one lady here that I never can forget in [my] life. I feel that I owe my life to her almost. Her name is Mrs. Page. I want you to remember her in your prayers. I want to see you the worst of all things but one: that is the end of the war. If I could see you I could tell you all about what I have seen. I have seen more suffering men here than ever I saw before in my life. Their sickness seems to be the hardest to get over that ever I saw. It seems to be the most fatal. Men dies here like sheep with the rot. We have lost five of our company and more sick. I am with Isaiah today. He is getting well. I have not had a night’s sleep in over a week. I have had the care of John Jackson and Berry Diggs both and have [given] them medicine every two hours day and night. They have been very low. Diggs had the typhoid fever and Jackson had an erysipelas on his face. I think that is the worst disease I ever saw in my life and is very dangerous. But I think they will soon be well. I hope that none of the rest of the company will die. …”

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. 87.