From the Archives: Civil War Letter
Thursday July 28 1864
My dear Wife.. To day I have again the opportunity of writing to you; Yesterday was a day of great excitement with new and old issue it was thought generally that the great fight would take place; but it was a failure sure as no fight came; at this moment the pickets are firing faster than 20 persons could count them; The bombs are flying thick also. The cause of the great excitement on yesterday was produced by some of our Mississippi pickets who were surprised by a Yankee line of battle while they were asleep and came running in which made us gather our arms quick and prepare for battle; there is not a particle of a doubt but what the new issue will fight if they are but in ditches; but it makes them sick to talk about an open field fight; we had three or four wounded on yesterday by the yankee sharpshooters This is a cool delightful place where I am now writing I am sitting of [off] some distance from our pits close to a nice fine building; where a gentleman and his family lives a wife and 5 children he is a refugee from Va and has just bought the place where he is now he has a cellar under his kitchen where his family is now staying and never come out only when the cannonading ceases, the yankees can shell his house with all ease; I saw one burned up yesterday morning and one last night; it was I suppose done on account of being in the way of the cannon; We are now on the right wing of Hood’s army I mean the Ma while Hoods, Cleburnes, Hindmans, Cheathams, Polks old corps and several others are nicely waiting upon them; since I commenced to write this heavy firing has commenced on the left; on yesterday the yanks tried all day tried to flank us on the right but some how they learned that the new issue was there last night they moved to the left; and we the new issue moved also farther to the right our whole line of battle is about 18 miles long the new issue occupy the right while the old issue occupy both right center and left and are watching every move the Yanks make; just a moment ago W Mercier was sitting here talking to me a shell came by making their usual noise He turned pale and said I must go and get some water he first asked me what it was I told him that it was one of Hoods ducks with one wing broken; as it was one of our guns making cross fire on the yank pickets; We have no picket duty to do the regulars do all of that; We have not had a good nights sleep since last; sunday week the day we went to Westpoint; we have either been marching or under marching orders or fighting orders on guard duty to watching the fire of our pickets to see if they hold their own N. B. tell Henry to write to me tell him I have not received his letter yet it may come our mail was in great confusion for awhile but it is all right now I lay me down this morning to take a sleep I had a dream; what you reckon it was I dreamt that I was at home had shoat good bacon ham beans squashes cucumbers apple pie fried peach pies chicken pies and good buttermilk cool; it made me so mad when I awoke and looked for the table and it was not there; but instead I found myself in a ditch about 5 ft. deep and for my table only 3 boards 4 ft. long and instead of my own family to look upon I found as far as my eyes could see in both directions a nasty dirty set of white men like myself. (The boards were my bed) Howdy Otis; Alice; Flora; Willie and Peter; this is all Pa can send you. I hope that by my being here may some day gain for you all lasting liberty. Good bye. A. T. Holliday
N. B. You must be certain to send me some paper. I can’t keep it as I am often wet all over. I don’t keep Warren with me at all now. He stays at the cook camp all the time.