Monday, June 20, 2016

Letters From a Soldier - Part One

All right everybody, I have to say (again) that I am so sorry for not having posted in over a week! It seems life just keeps getting busier and busier!

I know my last couple of posts have been military-based stories, So I'm just going to continue that trend leading up to the Fourth of July with a short series I'm titling Letters From a Soldier.

The title pretty much says it all, but after doing some research and reading real letters written by soldiers throughout different wars, I wrote some of my own. Not sure how interesting you will find them, but hopefully they will be enjoyable to read.

My letter:

Dearest Mother,
I’m certain you expected a letter like this sooner or later, and I am ashamed to have to admit these words to you, but I must. I now wish I had paid heed to your words before running off to join the Union Army. I was so blinded by the stories and tales of war; in my head it was a glorious thing. Now, as we prepare to go into yet another battle, our stomachs are empty, and most of the men who aren't sick spend their time complaining and arguing. I cannot say I blame them, for the hardships of war has tired them to no end, and we are worn out. We have not eaten a full meal since the previous day. I am tempted sometimes to complain myself. Living such a luxurious life before coming to war has not helped prepare me for these such hardships. Many of my companions have already had so little all their lives. It saddens me greatly that many do not even know how to spell well enough to send letters home. I am glad I was able to learn so well, for now I spend many a night assisting the others with writing their friends and family.
Back on topicI've strayed a bitkilling other men, some boys just like me, has not been all I've dreamt. I am not proud that I once was aching to do such a thing.
As much as I wish to be home now, with you and little Charlotte, I know that I have made my decision, and my work is here for the time being.  
And as I fight, I will try to remember the verses from the Holy Bible you gave me just the morning before I left to join up. I have not forgotten them. I must have courage, and not be fearful of the things that may happen. I must remember that our God is with us always, leading our way and lighting our path. I will return as soon as He allows it.

With all my love, your son,
Jared McCloud

(Sometimes soldiers described battles, but more often they wrote about their daily existence and desire to be at home. Confederate soldier John Sweet of the 9th Tennessee Infantry wrote home to his parents in November 1863 from siege lines overlooking Union troops at Chattanooga, Tennessee:

We have just returned from a trip into East Tenn where we got big amounts of everything to eat and everything we eat is so good to me as I had been starved out so long on some bread & beef, all that we got while we were here besieging Chattanooga. up there we got sweet and Irish potatoes, chickens, molassas, wheat bread and everything that was good for a poor soldier. Oh, how I do wish that I could be at home now, for it is getting late in the evening and I have had nothing to eat since breakfast and no telling when we will get rations for our rations are out, since we left our ration wagons behind in coming here to this place, for I know you have all had a good & plentiful dinner. I know you will say poor John, but this is only a chapter in military service which we often read, but I am content and will be more so when we get rations. The independence of the bounty is what I want and I am willing to suffer for something to eat many, many days if it will only send me to my dear parents, a full and independent boy.
The enemy still holds their position in Chattanooga and our lines drawn up close around the place. We are now on the top of Lookout Mountain overlooking the town. We have a fine view of our entire line and also of theirs. It is said that we can see into five different states from our position. It is very cold up here, as cold as it is where you are in mid-winter. You must excuse this exceedingly bad letter as I have written in great haste. My love to you and all. Write when you can and a long letter as I am very anxious to hear from you.
John H. Sweet )


Thanks for taking the time to read! Hope you all enjoyed and are looking forward to the next part!

~Livi Jane

1 comment:

  1. Oh, this is really interesting, Livi! I'm going to go read the next two parts :)