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"Soldiering with Sherman:
The Civil War Letters of George F. Cram"


Excerpted from Soldiering With Sherman : The Civil War Letters of George F. Cram by Jennifer Cain Bohrnstedt. Northern Illinois University Press, © 2000. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

"In our breastworks, May 27th, 1864

Dear Mother,

I hardly know how to write there is so much of intense interest to communicate, but will begin back to May 14th and describe at random what has occurred since. At that date (Saturday) our brigade formed the 1st line of battle on the right center. The rebels in our front held a most formidable position an dit was not deemed advisable by Hooker to charge them, though Genl. Ward was crazy all day to do so; so nothing but skirmishing took place during the day by us, though in our left the 14th Corps were heavily engaged toward night.

We slept on our arms during the night and the next morning (Sunday) started rapidly to the left where the rebels were ascertained to be massing their might. Our division was all drawn up in line on the extreme left ready for work at 12 midnight and in a few moments we learned from our commander the duty before us which was to charge the enemy's works.

We had formed just beneath a hill whose protecting sides covered us from the sight of the enemy as our regts. were being massed, an almost deathlike silence pervaded the ranks. Every man knew that in a few moments death would be at work among us and all seemed to fully realize the fact, but they all stood up like men and seemed to vie with each other in real courage.

At 12 we fixed bayonets and dashed over the hill. A perfect shower of shot, shell and grape met us thinning our ranks sadly, (Tirtlot fell on the first shot) but without the least check we flew down the hill, crossed the road at the front, climbed over some breastworks the rebels had left and began the run of the hill where they were posted.

The 105th was the last regt., but the two in front of us (79 Ohio and 129 Ill.) immediately laid down at the foot of this hill and our regt. ran right over them. They were behind and in among us which so mixed us up that amidst the tangled underbrush it was impossible to distinguish our lines and keep together, so it was every man for himself."

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