Monday, August 2, 2021

Major Charles Wright Wills: May 1, 1865—4:30 p.m.

Near Davis' Cross Roads, five miles north of Tar river.
May 1, 1865, 4:30 p. m.

We are 35 miles from Raleigh to-night, which makes 24 miles to-day over Tar river, which is here about 50 yards wide and runs through a fine rolling, high country. The march was splendidly conducted, no straggling, and the peace orders were faithfully lived up to. It seems like the early days of my soldiering to see the citizens all at home, their horses and mules in the stables, and gardens full of vegetables passed untouched. When a man can pass an onion bed without going for them, and they did a number of them to-day, no one need talk to me of total depravity. The soldier goes more on onions than any other luxury. The citizens have all "war's over” news, and seem to feel good over it. At three different places there were groups of very healthy looking young ladies, well dressed, by the roadside, waving their handkerchiefs at us, and one told the boys she wished them to come back after they were mustered out, for "you have killed all our young men off.” The virtuous indignation welled up in my bosom like a new strike of oil. I'll venture that these same women coaxed their beaux off to the war, and now that “Yank” is ahead, they shake their handkerchiefs at us and cry, “bully Yanks.” The devil take them and he'll be sure to do it. You have heard of woodticks? The man who don't catch his pint a day is in awful luck. They have a tick picking twice a day in this country, regularly as eating. Saw a wild turnip in bloom to-day.

SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 374-5

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