From the Archives: Civil War Letter
A. T. Holliday Monday morning Aug 29th 1864
Last night for the first time since we left Westpoint we had preaching on the ditch. We are still occupying the same position that we did on Saturday. We now occupy an old shelter that was used for a blacksmith shop when we cam here in May; We have been brought out here to do picket duty. Some of the Regt are all the time on picket or guard duty; we do not hold any place in the ditch at all but are in the rear. Everything is still very quiet; no fighting is to be heard in any direction at all. A great many reports are afloat; so many that it is hard to sift the truth out of it. Joe Brown is in the city; and it is said by some of the knowing ones that we will be disbanded in a few days, it is also told us that the yanks are still retreating but are going in the direction of Newnan; and it is thought they intend to make their way to Andersonville to release their prisoners if they can. The most of them are over the river. If the yanks could succeed in releasing their prisoners they would add to their force to the amount of forty thousand.
I have had my breakfast; had Irish potatoes beef biscuit and some bacon. It was all nice and good; Capt Maguire brought up a box with him; he is on our mess. Most of the boys have been over to see the yankee breastworks. I have not been yet. I have a thought of going over to day. Should have gone before now had it not been for my foot; it is better now. The boys have brought in a great many yankee trophies. I want to see if I cant bring in a live Yankee. Two were brought in yesterday morning night before last. The newspaper reports from Va are gloriously good the yesterday evenings paper says that Lee has whipped Grant badly captured 2000 prisoners. Everything looks brighter and brighter to me. Every day I grow stronger every day and more hopeful of our success; I have seen and conversed with a lady that had been in the Yankee lines since they have been near this city. She gives a dreadful account of their situation. She says they are short of rations and their horses and mules are very poor specimen of which I have seen with my own eyes; and by their leaving behind them 10 pieces of artillery is good proof. Two of the pieces are siege guns, 60 lbs one of them they spiked the others are not injured at all. This lady also said that her son was hired by the Yankee Sutler and her son had told her that the people in Marietta were nearly all starved. If that be true they cant remain here. She also said that Marietta was crowded with Yankees going home and they swear they will not fight again. She also says that all the privates in the Yankee army would lay down their arms and meet us half way as friends and each go to their homes and let the officers on each side fight to their own fill. I have no doubt all of that is true. The prisoners all admit they cannot whip us by fighting. They say all they can do is to flank but have not been able to do that here with 4 times our No of men. They have left a good many notes written on pieces of plank for the Johnny Rebs to read; some of them are quite amusing indeed. To day the Yankee nomination takes place at Cincinnati. It is thought from their own papers that they will nominate a peace candidate.
I wrote you about our wagons going over to the Yankee breastworks to bring in what was left by them. They brought 2000 hides broken wagons powder boxes cartridges boxes guns mules and horses; and a heap of other plunder; I have until 6 P.M. to finish this. I will go over to see the Yankee works and write you about them. Jos E. Waddy is here; and will leave this evening at 6 for Washington I will send this by him I may have some good grapevine by the time I finish this evening so that I can write you when to send for me that would be glorious news indeed would it not
1 o clock P.M.
I have returned from my visit over to the Yankee ditches; I picked up while there 3 caps you can give one to Jim; Fayet; and Enos; they will do fine for them; I also picked up a Yankee book which I will send Otis it is a little dirty but it is the best that can be picked up at this late day. Everything has been hunted over. I will send Willie a Yankee postage stamp in this. I have learned no grape-vine yet; news is getting rather scarce here now; I wrote you a long letter Saturday and wrote you to send me $ 300 dollars by Express as I had a place I could make it pay to put; it as this will come by hand you may get this first; Send the money immediately; Tell Harper to push them detail papers I have my stakes set now to some home; soon I want him to work as he would for himself I will then believe he is a friend in deed I have not heard from you since Hark came; I received a letter from Father Butler to day he is well as usual so he writes Do not forget to put away the melons for me cut a stem to them about 4 inches long and do not let them be bruised at all they will feed a long time from the stem.