Return to Letters from Army of the Cumberland

Return to Civil War Page 2

Return to Civil War Page 1


[The writer here is Silas M. Boyer of the 8th Independent Company Ohio Sharp Shooters. He was born in 1831 and died 4/11/1889 and is buried in Old Pine Cemetery in Raccoon Township. The prisoners appear to have been from the Battle of Nashville. In September 1864 the rebel army had made a last ditch attempt to force Sherman's army out of Georgia by this thrust north into Tennessee which ended with the Confederate defeat in the Battle of Nashville on December 16. This seems to be a good description of the condition and morale of the Confederate army as the war was winding down. N. Elvick]

Eastport, Miss., Feb. 1, 1865

R. L. Stewart, Esq.:
     I take my pen in hand to address a few lines, to give you an account of our campaign after the rebel army from Nashville, toward this place. Although not in the fight, we were close enough to see some of the operations of it, but as you have no doubt heard all about the fight I will simply confine myself to a little account of our trip with some prisoners that we captured, or that were given over to our command to guard back to Nashville. Quite a number of these were Irish, and very free in giving their opinions of the war, and the situation of the rebel army. All prisoners, or nearly all, agree in saying that there is no use for them to fight any longer, and while some of them were telling what they came out to fight for, saying that they were fighting for their rights, one, a Texan, got up, and said, "I will tell you what I have been fighting for almost four years, and here it is," and he pulled out a little Southern scrip, said he, "This is what we get for fighting, and when I get all of it that I can get, it will not buy me a pair of boots, but if I can get some of your money I can buy whatever I want that is to be had by any means."
     The prisoners nearly all were very poorly off for clothing and shoes.—Sometimes I would get tired of marching through the mud and rain, but when I saw the rebel prisoners and the greater part of them so very poorly clad, and a great many of them old men, borne down with age, and some young boys, going along without any shoes and seemingly without a murmur, I would get ashamed of myself for thinking that I had a hard time of it.
     No army in the world is fed, clothed and paid like ours. The rebels see this, and it makes them still more dissatisfied with their condition.—They all want peace, and would gladly accept it on most any terms. Many of them say they don't want to be exchanged if they have to go back to the rebel army. They prefer remaining in the North, and living among the hated Yankees, to being starved in the Confederacy. They are getting their eyes opened and by the time the next campaign is over, their [sic] will be few left anywhere to oppose the Union army.
     S. M. Boyer, Sergt. 8th Ind. Co. O.S.S.

The Gallipolis Journal
February 16, 1865