Sunday, May 10, 2009
This excerpt from North Carolina soldier John Robertson’s letter to Governor Zebulon Vance comes from one of my favorite Civil War books, William C. Davis’ “Look Away! A History of the Confederate States of America.” Robertson, who hadn’t been home in three years, pulled no punches in the letter, venting his anger toward the planter class and threatening to desert unless given a furlough to see his wife and family. After three years of war, Robertson was not simply a voice in the wilderness, but expressing the sentiments of many Confederate soldiers who filled the ranks.
“How can a pour man stand it. I waunt to ast you or enny other conc[ion]able man what is the pour man fitting for? We are fiting for the Rich mans property & negars – that just what we ar fiting for – the pour man got nothin to fite for – what little he had is gon to Ruin & disstruction – An the Big men at home a setting studying how to cheat & speculate out of the pour soulgers Wives. I had as live dye as hear talk of my wife suffering. I am Bound to go home som how… A man cant stand evry thing.”