Friday, July 15, 2016

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Fessenden Morse: August 8, 1864

Near Atlanta, August 8, 1864.

We have not yet quite reached our goal, though the prize seems almost within our grasp; movements are constantly being made to invest the city more closely, and we must soon take it. The rebels are making a very obstinate defence, and have works which can never be taken by assault. Several attempts, thus far futile, have been made to cut the Macon Railroad; when we succeed in that, the enemy must leave. The length and severity of this campaign is beginning to tell on almost everybody. You can judge somewhat how it is; for three months, officers and men have been on active duty, and, during that whole time, they have lived on the never-changing diet of pork, hard bread and coffee, with occasional fresh beef; every one looks thin and worn down; large numbers of sick are sent to the rear every day.

Hardly a day passes without one or more casualties; one day last week we had three men wounded in camp, two by bullets, one mortal, and one by shell. I was standing in front of my tent watching their shells burst, when I saw one come through a tree in front, strike the ground and ricochet. I knew by its direction that it must come into camp, and followed it with my eyes. It was a twenty-pounder with a disagreeable whiz and end-over-end motion and it went into a squad of three men, breaking the thigh of one of them. He bore it very quietly, had the bone set, and was taken off to the field hospital on a stretcher.

SOURCE: Charles Fessenden Morse, Letters Written During the Civil War, 1861-1865, p. 185-6

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