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Military Quotes

You can always tell an old soldier by the inside of his holsters and cartridge boxes. The young men carry pistols and cartridges; the old ones, grub.

-- George Bernard Shaw

Civil War Sept. 25, 1862, Antietam, MD Dear Brother, I received your letter yesterday and was glad to hear that you are all well. I like here full as well as I expected. We are now encamped on the banks of the Potomac River about six miles above Harper's Ferry.

We have been in two battles: one at Foxes Gap on the South Mountain, we were under fire about 4 hours there on Sunday the 14th. The other was at Antietam Bridge, we were under fire there 2 days.

We had one killed and 11 wounded including our captain and 2 sergeants and 1 corporal. I went over the battle field after the fight and it was a hard looking sight. I never want to see the like again. At Antietam the rebels burned part of their dead in a haystack.

There is not much news to write about. Sidney is not very well today, but I think he will get better in a day or two -- I guess he would like to get back to New Hampshire again if he could. Most of the boys have seen all the fighting they want to see, and then they think the living is rather tough. They get hard bread and back and coffee. The bread is not very good. We pick up a pig once in a while and chickens when we can find them. We lost everything we had when we went into the first battle and most of them have not got them again. I lost everything I had. I have got a blanket and shirt and tent so I get along very well. All is quiet here now but we may have to march before night and we don't know how soon we may have to fight again.

It is good music to hear the cannons roar and the shells and bullets whistle if you are out of reach of them. We don't like to have them come too near. There was one man killed beside me by a piece of shell and three wounded within 6 feet of me. I was close beside the captain when he was wounded. At South Mountain I saw about twenty dead rebels laying in one place just as they fell and others laying around just as they fell. I don't think of any more to write now so good bye for this time.

Yours, Sylvester Spaulding

Sidney is out of money and if you can send him some I think it would be a good plan, if he would take care of it and not spend it foolishly, for sometimes a man needs more than his rations. If you send it to me I will take care of it for him and see that it is well spent for his benefit.

May 2, 1864
Camp near Bristow Station, VA
Dear brother
I should have written you before but we have been on the move so much that I have written but few letters. We have been to Knoxville Tennessee; we marched 35 days and we were pretty well used up when we got through. And then we were on the cars three days. We lay at Annapolis about two weeks and then marched to this place. We are liable to move from here at any time. We hold ourselves in readiness to march at short notice with six days rations. We have about 50,000 in this corps under Burnside. We are held here as a reserve to Grant's army. I think they are about moving on Richmond, and I expect we shall have a hand in it and I think we shall get it this summer, but it will take some hard fighting and will cost thousands of lives, but we have a general over us now that will do everything in his power to sustain the government and to put down this rebellion.

We have a good deal of picket and guard duty to do here. It takes about 150 every day for picket duty in this brigade. I came in from picket yesterday. It is rather scary work as they shoot some of the pickets occasionally about here. We are encamped near the old Bull Run Battlefield. The skirmishing in the first Bull Run fight commenced here where we are. We do not get but few papers here so we know but very little that is going on, but we know that they are making preparations for a big fight. Troops pass here every day going to the front. Every train of cars that passes here is loaded with soldiers and supplies for the army.

From your brother, Sylvester Spaulding

Note: letters from Sylvester Spaulding.


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