We expect to be paid off soon, as the pay-rolls are now being made out. Money cannot do us much good here among the hills, but we can send it home. Many a family is dependent upon the thirteen dollars a month drawn here by the head of it.
When the war is over, how many soldiers will be unable to earn. even their own living, to say nothing of that of their families, all on account of wounds or disability incurred in the service. I have heard many a one say he would rather be shot dead in a fight than lose a limb, and thus be compelled to totter through life disabled. But I know our country will be too magnanimous to neglect its brave defenders who have fought its battles till they have become incapacitated for further service. I know we are not fighting for a country that will let its soldiers beg for a living.
We have now but a year left of the term of our enlistment, and the boys are already talking about what they will do. Some say they will stay till peace comes, no matter how long may be the delay, and I think the majority are of this mind. A few, however, will seek their homes when their time runs out, should this war last so long, and the Lord and rebel bullets spare them. For myself, I shall stay, if I can, till the stars and stripes float in triumph once more over all the land.
Here are a few lines :
TO COMPANY E.
You started at your country's call
To tread the fields of blood and strife,
Consenting to give up your all-
All, even to your very life.
And many storms of leaden rain
And iron hail have been your lot;
While yet among the number slain
The dear ones North have read you not.
Oh, may you safely yet return
To those who wait your coming, too;
May their fond hearts not vainly yearn
To greet you when the war is through.
But, though I wish you back in peace,
'Tis not a peace that quite disarms-
'Tis not a full and sure release,
You simply take up other arms.
SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 50-1