The night they drove old Dixie down
This week in the Civil War for May 18, 1864

Civil War Combat ~ in their own words


”It’s just like shooting squirrels, only these squirrels have guns.”
– A Federal veteran instructing new recruits in a musket drill.

“Bang, bang, bang, a rattle, de bang, bang, bang, a boom, de bang…whirr-siz-siz-siz–a ripping, roaring, boom, bang!”
– Confederate Sam R. Watkins describing a “fire fight.” Sam Watkins was twenty-one years old and from Columbia, Tennessee when he joined up to fight in the War. He kept a journal and recorded his experiences and thoughts during the conflict. His words give us great insight into the War.

“It was eyes right, guide center! Close-up, guide right, halt, forward, right oblique, left oblique, halt, forward, guide center, eyes right, dress up promptly in the rear, steady, double quick, charge bayonets, fire at will, is about all that a private soldier knows of a battle.”
– Confederate Sam R. Watkins.

“Our men are not sufficiently impressed with a sense of honor that it is better to die by fire than to run.”
– General William Hardee of the Confederacy.

“War is at best barbarism…Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot, nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell.”
– William Tecumseh Sherman. These words are from his June 19, 1879 address to the Michigan Military Academy.

“We made a bargain with them that we would not fire on them if they would not fire on us, and they were as good as their word. It seems too bad that we have to fight men that we like.”
– Words of a Union soldier.

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