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William H. Brown

"I got a letter from Jorge three or four days ago. He is at Vicksburg too, where we are fortifying the place strong. We work on it everyday...." William H. Brown, Chattanooga, Tennessee November the 18th, 1863


Chattanooga, Tennessee

November the 18th, 1863

Dear Friend—

I have set down for the first time to write you a letter. Jesse and myself received one from you sometime ago and was glad to hear from you. I also got a letter from my Brother about a month ago and it was the first one I ever had from him nor had I ever wrote him one.

I wrote Alvin a letter before the battle of Fredericksburg, but I do not know whether he ever got it or not. I hope he did for it was the first one ever wrote him. I have neglected writing too much. I got a letter from Jorge three or four days ago. He is at Vicksburg too, where we are fortifying the place strong. We work on it everyday. If there will be anymore fighting, I want it to be at this place where we can stand behind the works and them in the open field. At the Battle of Chickamauga, there were at least 3 rebels to one Union man. Well, I must close for tonight until morning…

November the 20th

Well, friend, this morning I will endeavor to finish my letter. While I am thus writing, I will tell you of an instance which happened 3 or 4 days ago. Two men were shot to death for desertion. There was an old man and a young man. They both followed their coffins to the place of their executions. They were lifted off the wagon and were placed on their coffins. The sentence was read to them and then they were blindfolded. The General with a flag would signal to them when to shoot, for there was no command given the mouth. A squad of about 20 men fired on them. They both fell, one rolling off his coffin, the other laying crossways on the coffin. It was indeed the hardest sight I ever saw. The screaming of the wounded on the field of battle was not so hard. Neither of them appeared to be alarmed in the least—the young man, especially.

Well, Uncle, I must close, for I will have to work on the fortifications this afternoon and all I can tell you is, I am well and hearty and I like soldiering pretty well. If I live and keep well, I shall stay my time out, if necessary. And, if necessary, I will enlist again….

William H. Brown.

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