Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Confederate Soldier Life on the Front Lines

Like Richmond, Atlanta, too, was a hard road to travel - for both those on the offensive, and those on the defensive. One of those defending was young Lieutenant John W. Comer of the 45th Alabama Infantry Regiment. The 45th was in Lowrey's Brigade of Cleburne's Division and had already seen some serious combat. Comer was not yet twenty years old in the summer of 1864, but he had experienced things men three times his age had not seen. With Comer in his soldering adventure was his slave Burrell, who attended to camp duties.

On June 14, 1864, Comer wrote home to Barbour County, Alabama, explaining his army trials.

"I am glad to say I am still safe & well. I never enjoyed better health in my life, I have a few soars on one of my feet, caused I think from such hard and continual marching. We have been on pad since we left Montivallo the 5th day of May. When we lie down at night we do not know how long we will be permitted to sleep, all the principal manuvers are made at night. I never think of pulling off my clothes or shoes when I lie down. I have not pulled off my Pants or Shoes to lie down more then twice since the 5th of May. I sleep with my belt around me & my sword & haversack under my head so as to be ready to move in a moment when called upon. Local service is a paradise compared to active service. I do not believe that there is a Soldier in this army but what has got lice (Body lice I mean). I have my clothes boiled but to no purpose. it is useless to try to get rid of them as long as we have to fare as we do, they plague me half to death, keeping me scratching & feeling . . .While I am writing our Pickets are fighting in front & the Enemy are cannonading heavily. But I have become accustomed to the sound and it does not bother me at all. We are ready and anxiously awaiting the attack of the Enemy. The army is in fine spirits and confident of success in the end. . . .

Burrell is now with the wagon train. I sent him to the rear to wash some clothes. one of our men has just in from the train [and] says he is well & will come to the Regt. in a few days. If Burrell holds out just full to the end & stick[s] to me as well as he has done heretofore & I come out safe, a mint of money could not buy him. There are very few negroes in the army that are not worth anything to their masters at times like this. Burrell is not afraid of anything, he came to use the other day while we were on Picket & borrowed some of the boys guns & shot at the Yankees. said he wanted to kill one Yankee before the war ended."

More tough times for both sides were just about a week away when the belligerents clashed at Kennesaw Mountain.

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