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11th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

[The 11th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Dennison, Ohio very early in the Civil War. They spent most of the first year in the Kanawha Valley of West Virginia, but were then sent east and participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run, Antietam and South Mountain. They were subsequently sent to Tennessee and Georgia and fought in the battle of Chickamauga, where this soldier was wounded. The soldier's name is Elijah Eyer and he was a private in Company F. N. Elvick]

General Hospital No. 1, Nashville, Tenn., April 14th, '64

Editor Journal:
     Presuming that a few lines from a wounded soldier will not be uninteresting to your many readers, I have concluded to pen a few lines for your columns.—It is more than one year ago that our Regiment (the 11th Ohio) bid adieu to the towering hills and pleasant valleys of the Great Kanawha, and made our abode in Tennessee, and finally crossed its broad domain of plantations and negroes; checked up at the great field of Chickamanga [sic]; at the last I have heard of the boys, they were in the extreme front at Ringgold, Georgia. We have had sore trials and severe losses since leaving the Kanawha, and our hearts have often yearned to be back upon our old stamping grounds of West Virginia. But our days of service are fast being numbered, and the heart is yearning for a happier and more joyous hallowed ground, made so by the memory of friends, and the cheer that awaits our return. It is "Home, home, sweet, sweet home!" What fond anticipations are lingering in our hearts to-day, at the thought of a speedy re-union around the hearthstones of home, anticipations fraught with love, made stronger and more pure during a long and eventful absence. We also have anticipations of a speedy peace, when war shall be heard no more, and when all will be able to sing with hearts overflowing with gratitude: "The Union of hearts—the Union of hands, The Union of lakes—the Union of lands, And the flag of our Union forever!"
     May we soon realize such a rejoicing—realize the fact that the nation is stronger and more firmly bound in unity and prosperity than ever before, and hand down to our children a history and heritage that is not only grand in prospect, but sublime and magnificent in structure.
     The 11th did not feel inclined to re-enlist as veterans, because they desire a little rest and repose among their kindred and friends; and when they have sufficiently recruited their health and strength, they will again be found upon the watch-towers of the nation's bulwarks, and all that is dear to every American heart.—However, seventy-one of our number have gone as "pets," and we wish them God-speed; while the balance will go home in June, to be married, etc.
     Your correspondent is still suffering from a wound received at Chickamauga, but he'll get over it in its own good times. Printers are calculated to have the "patience of Job" in every circumstance, and I freely submit to my lot. The weather is delightful, and birds are singing everywhere, and the irksomeness of confinement is quite severe. If I could stay out doors, and lie down in the shadow of a tree, I would feel first rate. The grass is peeping up from beneath the decayed sod—the flowers and Peach trees are in full bloom, and all nature begins to wear her wonted robes of beauty and loveliness, and I would really love to revel amidst its fragrance and drink at its sparkling fountains. Beams of sunlight dance o'er our pathway until the god of day sinks to rest in his bed of gorgeous "clouds of silver linings."
     I know that you at home heave many a sigh of pity for us "poor soldiers," and long for this "cruel war to be over," and I know too that the sweet-hearts, (alas! your correspondent cannot boast of such an article) are pining and "wishing he were here." The soldier too is busy with thought, calling to memory—

"A maiden young and fair,
With a brow of snowy whiteness,
Shaded by light auburn hair,
Who upon one moonlight evening,
'Neath the towering old oak tree,
When the moon was shining brightly,
Promised to be true to me."

     Yes, we are thinking, and may we all have the full realization of our happy thoughts—happy here, and happy in the great hereaftor [sic]. I would love to tell you of some great strategic movements, but I am too far from the base of operations to note facts. So far as I know, "all is quiet on the Cumberland," but is not likely to remain so long, because Gen. Grant has been granted the possessions of Georgia, and other rebellious States, and he is going to have them. The army has full faith and confidence in the abilities of Grant to whip the entire Confederacy in the coming campaign, and he'll do it.
     This Hospital contains upwards of nine hundred patients, the most of them being wounded, and numerous deaths occur of late. There is an average death (rate) of three per day, and as the weather becomes warmer, so deaths increase. Amputation is the main cause of death. Sad scenes are witnessed here daily, and (it) makes the heart grow sick and long to be away to other scenes, where the groans of the dying are not heard at every turn. But I am growing weary, and will close, hoping to give you a call in person ere many days. If this is acceptable, publish; if not, throw it in the stove.
     Yours Typographically,
     E. K. Eyer

The Gallipolis Journal
April 28, 1864

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