Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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General Hindman’s Address to the Troops

December 4, 2012

Miscellaneous document sources

Headquarters First Corps,
Trans-Mississippi army,
in the field, Dec. 4, 1862.

Soldiers: From the commencement to the end of the battle, bear constantly in mind what I now tell you:

First. Never fire because your comrades do, nor because the enemy does, nor because you happen to see the enemy, nor for the sake of firing rapidly. Always wait till you are certainly within range of your gun, then single out your man, take deliberate aim, as low down as the knee, and fire.

Second. When occasion offers, be certain to pick off the enemy’s officers, especially the mounted ones, and to kill his artillery horses.

Third. Don’t shout except when you charge the enemy — as a general thing keep silent, that orders may be heard. Obey the orders of your officers, but pay no attention to idle rumors or the words of unauthorized persons.

Fourth. Don’t stop with your wounded comrade;  the surgeons and infirmary corps will take care of him; do you go forward and avenge him.

Fifth. Don’t break ranks to plunder; if we whip the enemy, all he has will be ours; if not, the spoils will be of no benefit to us. Plunderers and stragglers will be put to death on the spot. File-closers are especially charged with this duty. The cavalry in rear will likewise attend to it.

Remember that the enemy you engage has no feeling of mercy or kindness toward you. His ranks are made up of Pin Indians, free negroes, Southern Tories, Kansas Jayhawkers, and hired Dutch cut-throats.

These bloody ruffians have invaded your country, stolen and destroyed your property, murdered your neighbors, outraged your women, driven your children from their homes, and defiled the graves of your kindred. If each man of you will do what I have urged upon you, we will utterly destroy them. We can do this; we must do it; our country will be ruined if we fail.

A just God will strengthen our arms and give us a glorious victory.

T. C. Hindman,
Major-General Commanding.

R. C. Newton, A. A.G.

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