Sunday, May 1, 2016

1864

December 25, 1864
Self,

My deepest apologies for not writing. I have been occupied with a great march through the Confederacy, led by Major General William T. Sherman. I wonder if this sir is a madman. Every Southerner we've come across must surely think so. We have ravaged the land we crossed as a pack of locusts. We ate what we pleased, released every slave we found, and set every plantation aflame. We have left countless rebels behind us with no means left to live. We have positively destroyed their cities and railroad lines and left them helpless. My comrades were quite jocular as we pilfered and plundered, and I attempted to smile with them, but I could not, truly. How could I laugh off the carnage as if it were simply a gigantic joke? We were destroying the lives of countless innocents, and they could only howl with amusement. I have told no one, but I am not entirely sure we did the right thing. My friends have sensed my discomfort and have tried to clear my conscience with talk of how much we have helped the Union and the myriad slaves we have freed, yet I am not convinced. As you alone know, I care not for the slavery debate. I have better things to be concerned with. As for our aid to the Union, was it truly worth it? After all, if we are able to bring the South back into the Union as we hope, we will be responsible for fixing the damage. And this will be no small endeavor; we have demolished much of the South's economy; we have deprived much of its citizens of home and business. So many civilians have been harmed by our actions.

I am sorry to bother you with such negativity, especially at a time which should be joyous. Constance has sent me wonderful gifts, with promises of more when I return. Ah, dearest Constance, how can you be so sure of my arrival home? I am not. I never should have reenlisted in the military; I never would've if not for Constance and Father and their letters telling me of how proud they were I was serving our country and their foolish wishes to join me. I could not let them down then, but I feel I have disappointed them tenfold by participating in Sherman's crazed march.

I must bid you farewell now, dear self. May your Christmas be merrier than mine.
I remain your faithful companion,
Captain Bruce Stanton

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