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Letters From Home….by Guest Writer Dan Hall

Posted by Pete | Posted in News | Posted on 26-02-2018

6

Letters

I like to read the letters that Confederate soldiers wrote home or would  have a friend write home for them. It gives you some understanding about their lives and the things that were important to them. Being from Alabama,  I mostly read about Alabama soldiers, but I have read books about letters from soldiers in Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas. Most of the letters are basically the same as they want to know about their wife and kids. Are they making out ok, do they have food, do they have feed for their stock, have the kids been well, and how are other family members?
Very little is said about the war, they may say where they are and how long they have been there. They will tell about soldiers in their Company that are sick or have been sick.
( For the ones that don’t know, each Regiments Companies were made up of soldiers from the same county, town or community. So the soldiers knew each other before going off to war. In some cases it was brothers, fathers and sons, uncles and cousins in the same Company, so the soldiers wife and family would know the other soldiers also.)
At times the soldiers would get to missing their family so much they would tell their family if they couldn’t get a furlough, they were coming home anyway. And in a lot of the letters back to these soldiers their wife would tell them to stay there not to bring shame and dishonor to the family name, that they were fine and for him to stay there and do his duty.
But I have read accounts of soldiers that couldn’t get furlough, and knowing their families didn’t have enough food to last, would slip off and go home in the spring to plant the crops that the family need for another year. They would then go back to their Regiments to face their punishment. In most cases these soldiers were listed as “stragglers”,  not as deserters. Deserters left with no intentions of coming back.

( Now, dear reader, as a veteran myself  I  know there’s nothing like a letter from home,  unless it’s a package from home.)

Thanks to Dan Hall for another thought provoking article about the trials of our CSA soldiers.

Comments (6)

Thanks Dan for a glimpse of life in an earlier era in time of war when people were real people who really cared for one another. It was strange to read about an era when people went off to war in a regiment that consisted of local people whom they already new: their backgrounds, their needs, their relationships, and all the problems they experienced before going off to war. I know when I went into the Air Force for four years, I only met one person from Alabama during the entire time: a young kid from Birmingham who was just as confused as I. How times have changed. In earlier years, soldiers went off to war to protect the only world that they had known and the people in it, fighting alongside the same people who had occupied that little world with them. Today, all to often, people go to war only to satisfy a political obligation, the alternative of which is shame or even jail. It is no wonder that serving in the military is not what it use to be and the service is often looked down upon as only a service deserving of a class that many do not want to be a part of. All to often, we give lip service to our veterans of foreign wars while, at the same time, thinking “thank God I didn’t have to go”. An example of this is, recently in the latter days of the draft, there was an attempt to draft all able bodied people of a certain age regardless of sex. Many females said no and bombarded Washington with tons of mail expressing it in no uncertain terms. Since the new interpretation of the constitution by liberal courts forbid an unequal treatment of one class over another, the draft was largely abandoned in favor of an all-volunteer service. If the nation is ever again faced with a real national emergency requiring the service of the entire population requiring a draft of that population, I wonder if it will ever be accepted again as it was in earlier wars. The age of push button warfare has caused a change not only in the people who fight wars but also in the nature of the weapons of war. A soldiers personal relationship to his rifle and gear is not the same as that of a modern technician manning a console in a bunker in Wyoming firing a nuclear tipped ICBM to some far off land.

I’m thinking drones, robots, missiles, and robotic type tanks will fight most of the next war. Foot soldiers doing the mop up operations only.

Thank you for the compliment Solomon.

Yep! That is true Mr. Webmaster! BUT, and this is a big BUT! A draft will likely still be necessary if the nation experiences another all out or major war for survival. I just wonder how the current sorriest generation, raised as they are to acquire as many THINGS as they can as cheaply as possible will submit themselves to conscription with few or no benefits, even giving the ultimate sacrifice towards saving the nation in the name of freedom. If they do, then they are not the sorriest generation, but can be classified up there with the greatest. If they don’t then they are the sorriest, and the nation is doomed.

I”m not sure you are reading it correctly. The bill says that if the vacancy occurs after October 15 in third year of the quadrennium. The last general election was November 2014. You are reading it as if 2016 were the third year of the quadrennium. But if that is true, then we are now in the fifth year of the quadrennium, which is unlikely even in Alabama. Alabama legislators take office the day after they are elected, and terms expire the day after the general election in the fourth year after election. Based on that, the first year of the quadrennium would be November 2014-November 2015; and the third would be November 2016-October 2017. So a vacancy after October 15, 2017 would not be filled. The filing deadline for the 2018 primary was February 10, 2018, and the primary is in June. There are three special elections underway. In Alabama, there are special primaries, special primary runoffs, and special elections. The vacancies occurred before October 15, 2017, and the special elections will be in May (one will be in March because there was no need for primary runoffs). But a vacancy later in 2017 would likely result in a special election overlapping with the primary for the next term. Alabama is so Alabama. They are leaving the language about the transition to four-year terms, which took effect in 1906. And the apportionment language has not been changed after Reynolds v Sims”. Way down yonder in the land of cotton, old laws are never forgotten.

Er, are we on the same page? What did I miss?

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