24 June 1864: “…and as to taking off one’s shoes, that’s not to be dreamed of.”

Item description: Letter, dated 24 June 1864, from George Hovey Cadman, a soldier in the 39th Ohio Infantry Regiment, to his wife Esther.

[Item transcription available below images.]

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Item citation: From folder 10 in George Hovey Cadman Papers (#122), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

In the field, Kennesaw Mountain, Ga.
Friday, June 24, 1864.

My dear Wife:

Again I sit down to my daily pleasure of writing a few lines to you. Let me know when you write how you like this style of letter. It is the most convenient way for me as I can often find five minutes to spare where I could not get an hour. Besides we have very little notice of when the mail is going away but this way I am always ready for it.

After I had sent yesterday’s letter we had another artillery fight, and a heavy one; such a noise as one can imagine but can’t describe. To the roar of cannon and roll of musketry which beats any thunderstorm I ever heard, add the shouting of men, the whistling of round shot, the shrieking and bursting of shell, and the hissing of rifle balls, and you have such a pandemonium as Milton never dreamed of.

After the artillery I was detailed on Head Quarters Guard, but just as I had my traps all ready to start with the squad for Hd. Qrs. the Greybacks mad a charge on our skirmish line. Of course we had to get into our breastworks to be ready for an assault. They drove back part of the line to our right, but on our front everything stood firm, and after half an hour’s hard fighting they simmered down. One of our Co. A boys was wounded and did not live through the night.

Last night Head Quarters Guard, the night before before Color Line Guard, and if I am relieved soon enough this evening, I shall be on picket. I tell you, Esther, that’s coming it pretty heavy. It’s enough to wear any man out. I shall be glad when we get away from here. A fellow has no chance to look about. Thick woods on flank and rear, and a mountain in front with cannon on the top and Johnny Reb behind the cannon don’t form a very inviting prospect. Besides this, being in front to have to wear our cartridge boxes both day and night, eating, drinking and sleeping, and as to taking off one’s shoes, that’s not to be dreamed of. But it’s hard on the men. They say a man can get used to anything, and so he may, if he doesn’t die in the seasoning. Numbers of our men who were stout and healthy when we started are worn completely out. Sam Giffin stands it well; nothing seems to hurt him. Jem Myers seems to be picking up now. When we get into a stationary campaign, and can wash our clothes and be clean once more, it will seem almost like home to us.

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2 Responses to 24 June 1864: “…and as to taking off one’s shoes, that’s not to be dreamed of.”

  1. Todd Kesselring says:

    He did write “Milton” not “Multon” from what I saw. I think he means 17th Century English writer John Milton.