South Mountain by Rick Reeve

South Mountain by Rick Reeve
South Mountain by Rick Reeve depicting the wounding of General Garland

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

" No Yankee Bullet will kill me..."

The following is a letter written by Lieutenant David Hamilton Ray of the 5th North Carolina while the Confederates were encamped around the city of Frederick, Maryland on September 9th. Lt. Ray had been in the Regular Army for 8 years as a younger man but he found himself in the Confederate Army in 1862. During the Battle of South Mountain, he would be cited for gallant conduct by General D. H. Hill for the fight at Fox's Gap.

Camp 5th N.C.I. near Frederick City MD

Sept. 9th 1862

My Dear Mother
How little did either you or I think that in les than three weeks from the morning I left you all, that I would be in Maryland. We left Hanover C.H. on the 26th Aug. and marched every day for thirteen (13) days, it would be useless for me to attempt to give you a description of the trials and hardships, through which we passed. I held out altho I was sick when started with the direreah, some days I felt as if every step was my last had I been a private I certainly never would have held up, but as an officer If I stoped every privated considered that he had the same rite. We pased through Jackso's Battlegrounds and I do pray that I may be speared from ever witnessing such horrors again. Officers in our Reg' who were in the Richmond Battles say that there was no such slaughter on and one field there, we laped some days after the Battle and roads fields, woods were covered with the dead, the smell was awfull. I thought from what I had heard that I could see heads, arms, legs, and the dead men without feeling but I tell you it sickened me. I have been sick more since I have in eight or ten years before. Soldiereing now is altogether different from what it was when I was in before I knew this improves that I will have to resign after this campaign, that is if I am speared that long. I construed into cowardice and I prefer death to that. this is certainly a bright day for us the So' Confederacy yet I belive that we are on the verge of great-events to resuly from some of the Bloodiest-battles of this war. I shall trust-in God believing that if is his will for for me to be speared that no Yankee bullet will kill me.
We have been here since Saturday night cant tell where or when we are going
Love to all

Your Aff Son

Following the fight at South Mountain, Lieutenant Ray would remain with the 5th North Carolina through the Battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He would be sent home to North Carolina in January 1864 to become an enrolling officer and in February 1865 he would be discharged for chronic illness. While this letter was written days before the fight at South Mountain, Lieutenant Ray survived the savage fighting at Fox's Gap. His letter gives insight to the thinking of one Confederate who entered Maryland that September.

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