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Unhappy quotes from the soldiers.... - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Sun Dec 30th, 2012 02:05 pm
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Texas Defender
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  Since a thread about amusing quotes made by soldiers was recently rejuvenated, I thought I would bring on the subject of unhappy quotes made by the soldiers.

  During the first half of the 19th Century, West Point developed into what was most probably the finest engineering school in the world. West Pointers became prominent leaders both in the Army and in the civilian world. Much of the country's growing infrastructure was built by West Pointers.

  During the Mexican War, many West Pointers gained valuable experience and made names for themselves in the Army. When the Civil War got underway, they became most of the senior leaders on both sides of the conflict. Before that, many had spent long years serving together in the Army, and had developed a deep respect and affection for each other. This endured in many cases despite serving on opposite sides of the war.

  This respect was often felt by West Point graduates toward fellow officers who were non-West Pointers as well. At Chantilly on 01 September 1862, a Federal officer was riding in the dark in the middle of a blinding rainstorm. He rode into Confederate pickets, who ordered him to surrender. The horseman turned his horse around and attempted to flee, but took a bullet which severed his spine.

  Confederate General D.H. Hill was nearby. He approached the Federal officer laying on the ground. In the light of his lantern, General Hill recognized the fallen man. He gasped: "You've killed Phil Kearny. He deserved a better fate than to die in the mud."

Philip Kearny - General Kearny - Civil War

  The following day, General Kearny's body, along with his horse and his gear, was returned to the Federal side.  It was accompanied by a note from General Robert E. Lee to General John Pope.

Robert Lee letter to John Pope, 2 September 1862 | Familytales

Last edited on Sat Jul 19th, 2014 11:55 pm by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2013 03:16 am
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Hellcat
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I was going to look through Randall Bedwell's War Is All Hell but then I remembered this letter I posted back in 2007 in the letters and diary section,

Spotsylvania County, Va. May 10
Dear Father

This is my last letter to you. I went into battle this evening as courier for Genl. Heth. I have been struck by a piece of shell and my right shoulder is horribly mangled & I knowdeath is inevitable. I am very weak but I write to you because I know you would be delighted to read a word from your dying son. I know death is near, that I will die far from home and friends of my early youth but I have friends here too who are kind to me. My friend Fairfax will write you at my request and give you the particulars of my death. My grave will be marked so that you may visit it if you desire to do so, but it is optionary with you whether you let my remains rest here or in Miss. I would like to rest in the grave yard with my dear mother and brothers but it's a matter of minor importance. Let us all try to reunite in heaven. I pray my God to forgive my sins and I feel that his promises are true that he will forgive me and save me. Give my love to all my friends. My strength fails me. My horse and my equipments will be left for you. Again, a long farewell to you. May we meet in heaven.

Your dying son,

J.R. Montgomery






http://www.civilwarinteractive.com/forums/forum32/651.html

Sorry it's not a quote but it is unhappy.

Last edited on Tue Jan 1st, 2013 03:17 am by Hellcat



 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2013 03:42 am
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Texas Defender
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Hellcat-

  The state of medical science being what it was in the Civil War era, many soldiers received wounds that they knew would be mortal (And in some cases it took awhile for them to die). Thus, there are many examples of statements made and letters dictated to friends and relatives by those wanting to make a final communication before expiring.

  An example I would cite was that of General William "Bull " Nelson. General Nelson was mortally wounded by a shot from a revolver fired by General Jefferson C. Davis at the Galt House in Louisville in 1862. After being shot, General Nelson spotted General Thomas Ewing among those present. He allegedly said to General Ewing: "Hello, Tom. I am murdered."

William "Bull" Nelson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Last edited on Tue Jan 1st, 2013 04:14 am by Texas Defender



 Posted: Tue Jan 1st, 2013 04:27 pm
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Hellcat
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While true, it is still something that is an unhappy event when you read it. It would be a different matter to read a soldier's letter home saying he's dieing and this will be his last communication, then learn he lived another twenty years and had merely thought his wound was that grave at the time he wrote the letter. Montgomery died four days after the date on the letter, what's so happy about a soldier being right that their dieing?



 Posted: Sun Jan 6th, 2013 07:43 pm
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Mark
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Oliver N. Wilcox, 83rd PA Inf, in a letter dated 5 July 1862. His regiment took a fearful drubbing at Gaines Mill.

"The past ten days seem to me more like some frightful dream than anything else and I shall not be able to give an intelligent account of what has passed in that time...God only knows how and why I came out alive."

As he wraps up the letter, he laments that "I must write to the parents of my two tent mates." (both of whom were both badly wounded in the battle)

I'm not sure why, but this particular letter really made an impression on me.

Mark

Last edited on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 07:44 pm by Mark



 Posted: Sun Jan 6th, 2013 09:07 pm
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Mark-

  It sounds like Wilcox was experiencing what we now call PTSD, since he referred to the events that took place as: "More like some frightful dream than anything else."
  He seemed to be expressing survivor guilt when he said: "God only knows how and why I came out alive."


survivor guilt - definition of survivor guilt by the Free Online Dictionary, T

Last edited on Sun Jan 6th, 2013 10:43 pm by Texas Defender



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