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 Post subject: Civil War Soldiering Reduced To the Basics
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2011 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 3:20 pm
Posts: 1212
Location: USA
In reading Joe Reinhart's book, A History of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U. S., I came across a statement from one of that unit's privates, a young man from Shelby County, Kentucky, by the name of Terah Sampson.

Shortly after the Battle of Stones River in which the 6th Kentucky fought ferociously as part of Hazen's Brigade, Terah wrote his mother and expressed his personal view about Lincoln's recent release of the Emancipation Proclamation. "I never thought that I would fight to free the Negro when I enlisted," he wrote, "but hoo we must blame, the Northern men or the Southern men? I consider that the blame all lais on the Southerners, for if they has of stayed in the Union as they ought to a done, what could Linkion have done? He could not have done one thing! But they flung trash, throughed all the power in the Ablishings hand, and now hoo is to blame?"

For many Kentuckians serving in Union regiments there was some real concern over what they perceived as an unnecessary and egregious act by Lincoln. By the act slavery would be permitted to remain in Kentucky, as it would in other border states, but most men understood that it could not long survive as a practical result. Not a slave owner himself, Terah still grappled with what he felt was his motivation for remaining in active service with his regiment. "If ever I get out of this, I would like to see the man that would ever get me in another army! Not that I am getting dishartin or eny thing of the Sort, but this is not what I come in the army for, to free Negroes. I don't consider that I am fighting for eny princible, eny union, or eny thing. Els I am here is to shoot at men and to be shot at, and that is about all." (Reinhart, Joseph R., A History of the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U. S., The Boys Who Feared No Noise, Beargrass Press, Louisville, Ky., 2000, p. 177.)

Sometimes it all came down to just that.

General Jos. C. Meyer, ACWGC
Union Army Chief of Staff
Commander, Army of the Shenandoah
Commander, Army of the Tennessee
(2011-2014 UA CoA/GinC)


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