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

Post image for A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd.

A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd.

June 21, 2013

A Soldier’s Story of the Siege of Vicksburg–Osborn H. Oldroyd

JUNE 21ST.—To-day again church bells at the North are calling good people to worship, and to hear words of cheer and comfort to the soul. The prayers of our patriotic mothers and fathers that will go up to-day for the suppression of this rebellion will surely have a hearing.

We had inspection of arms and quarters at nine this morning. Of course everything was in good order, but if such a thing should take us by surprise some time, our beds might be found not made, and things in general upside down. When notice of this inspection was given, or rather an order to prepare for it, one of our boys remarked, “This must be Sunday;” and he added, “I guess I won’t wait for this inspection,—I’ll take my girl to church.” If his girl had been here the whole company would doubtless have wanted to go to church, too. “Though lost to sight, to memory dear.” We can talk to the sweet creatures only through the dear letters exchanged; but a love letter brings a very bright smile to a warrior’s face, and the sunshine that prevails in camp after the reading of the mail from home, is quite noticeable. Dear girls, do not stop writing ; write letters that are still longer, for they are the sweetest of war’s amenities, and are the only medicine that has kept life in the veins of many a homesick soldier. When the mail comes I cannot help wishing everybody may get a letter; but alas! some must miss hearing their names read, and oh! the sadness that creeps over them when the last name has been called and the last letter handed out to some one else. They are sadder than if wounded by a bullet. If wounded, a surgeon may prescribe; but what prescription for the failure of a letter from home? Our mail is by no means daily, and if it comes at all, its favors are few and far between. Indeed, each time it comes we get to feeling as if it may never come again. And so it may prove, in fact. The disappointed one carries his strangled hope into the next day’s fight, falls, and dies, perhaps, from some wound that otherwise might prove slight, for his heart is broken.

This afternoon I stood on a little hill just back of a regiment adjoining, talking with a friend there, when crash through his brain went a rebel bullet. He had just alluded to the horrors of the daily strife. Relieved from further duty here, he went to answer roll-call in a better army, to which his honorable discharge from this ought surely to admit him. He answered the first call of his country, and had served faithfully through two years of hardship and danger. I personally know that he fought well, and his name should not fail to be enrolled somewhere in the records of his country.

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