Sunday, August 19, 2007

A last letter home

Letters home from soldiers can explain a lot of the ups and downs that soldiers face. Sometimes letters can bare bad news and bring pain to the family members that read them. Obviously, these letters are ones that bare the news that the a particular soldier is not coming home. Many times these letters are written by an officer and rarely come from the death bed of a soldier. However, during the Civil War there were moments when soldiers were able to write out or dictate a few lines to someone present. Many times these were never reported but the ones that were offer us a glimpse into the family life of the 1860's and the love that a son had for the family involved.

Sergeant John Moseley, 4th Alabama Infantry was one of the few soldiers who managed to communicate to his loved ones as he lay on his death bed. Here is Moseley's letter, note how he says goodbye to his loved ones who are miles away from the small hamlet of Gettysburg. Moseley was wounded during the Confederate attack on Little Round Top on July 2, 1863. Imagine if you received the letter below stained with your loved ones blood as Moseley's letter was on that July day.

Battlefield Gettysburg, July 4,1863

Dear Mother:

I am here a prisoner of war, and mortally wounded. I can live but a few hours, at farthest. I was shot fifty yards from the enemy's line. They have been exceedingly kind to me. I have no doubt as to the final result of this battle, and I hope I may live long enough to hear the shouts of victory before I die. I am very week. Do not mourn my loss. I had hoped to have been spared; but a righteous God has ordered it otherwise, and I feel prepared to trust my ease in his hands. Farewell to you all! Pray that God receive my soul.

Your unfortunate son John
as quoted from the book "Wasted Valor" by Greg Coco

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