"Peculiarly distinguished among the advance guard, where all were distinguished, must be recorded . . . Private J. W. Brown, of Company F, First Georgia Regiment, who, upon hearing the order to fall back, exclaimed, 'I will give them one more shot before I leave,' and while ramming down his twenty-ninth cartridge fell dead at his post." - General Henry R. Jackson in his report of the Battle of Greenbrier River.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From the Homefront

Gone from their homes now for over a month, the soldiers of the First Georgia were beginning to feel the pangs of homesickness and longing for family and friends.  Lieutenant William O. Fleming of the Bainbridge Independents wrote to his wife constantly, many times scolding her for not writing as often as he felt she should. 

In a letter published in the May 15 edition of the Sandersville Central Georgian, one of the women left behind addressed the members of the Washington Rifles to assure them how proud the folks back home were.

To the Washington Rifles, near Pensacola, Florida.

“But few shall part where many meet,
The sand shall be their winding sheet,
And every turf beneath their feet
Shall prove a soldier’s sepulcher.”

Thinking perhaps it would be interesting to you at camp to see something from home, I have concluded to write you a short communication, to let you know that you are not forgotten by us—notwithstanding I am aware of the fact, that nothing would be interesting from my pen, but from the fact it is from Home.

Home? How many pleasant memories linger around the word.

It has been said that the three sweetest words in the English language are, Mother, Home, and Heaven. No doubt all of you can realize more fully the meaning of those words since you left Old Washington—the birthplace of many of you, the adopted home of many others. You have forsaken friends, Home, and many of the comforts and luxuries of life for the toils and hardships of peril and camp life. You seem to be in great danger; but put your trust in the God of Battles. “He will be with us in six troubles and in the seventh He will not forsake us.”

We are rejoiced to hear you are holding prayer-meetings. Neglect them not; call upon God to assist you in all your undertakings. “If the Lord be for us, who can prevail against us.” Pray for yourselves, and the prayers of Mothers, Sisters, Pastor and Friends, (whose homes and rights you have so gallantly gone forth to defend), will daily ascend the throne of grace in your behalf—for the preservation of your lives and health, and to spare us from the calamities of civil war—brother fighting against brother.

We would not call you back though our heart-strings should burst asunder at parting. We will say, Go! And may the God of our forefathers of the Revolutionary war go with you. We pray God that he will bring you safely back to us: but if it is His will that you should fall “mid the clashing of steel and the roar of cannon,” we feel confident that you, the “Washington Rifles,” will never disgrace the honored name you represent, but will nobly defend by “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation,” the beautiful flag you bear, and never suffer it to trail in the dust, or “Yield it to our country’s foes,” until your very heart blood is spilled in its defence.

Rest assured that you will not be forgotten by those you have left behind you. The remembrance of your loved forms, and the happy hours we have spent in your society, will ever be “green spots in our memories garden.”

We unhesitatingly place in your keeping the honor of our noble Empire State, knowing you will defend the rights of our country, even at the point of the bayonet.

In conclusion, we would say, we hope and pray for your safe return to your “Mothers and Homes;” and if it is not the will of God that you should return home, may we all meet in that eternal Home, Heaven, where parting is unknown.


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