Letter from Battle, Walter

Soldier: Battle, Walter
Allegiance: Confederate
Unit/Service Branch: 4th Infantry
Home State: North Carolina
Date Written: Wednesday, May 25th, 1864
Location: Hospital, Richmond
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Battlefield, Combat Description, Commanders, Comrades, Eastern Theater, Enemy, Family

Dear Mother:
You will undoubtedly be surprised and I fear alarmed to receive a letter from me at this place. But do not let your mind feel any uneasiness at all. Kind providence has so far favored me that I have passed through another very severe battle with only a skin wound on the inside of my knee. Though the exposure that we had to endure that evening and night (Thursday, the 19th inst.), was most too much for me. We fought for three or four hours in the evening, in a drenching rain, until night coming on, we rectified our lines, threw up some little breastworks with our bayonets, anticipating a night attack by the Yankees. Our lines were in speaking distance of each other. The Yankees would give us a cheer, then our boys would answer with a deafening Rebel Yell. Gen. Ramseur hallooed out to them twice, "Come on Yankees," but they did choose to do so, though I believe they tried to make their men charge us, as we would hear their commands to that effect. We lay there about half the night, in the mud and water, behind our little mound of earth thrown up with our bayonets and hands, when we were ordered to fall back as quietly as possible.

Such a command at such a time puts a strange feeling on a person, a relief to the mind which I can't describe, nor any one realize, but those who have once been placed in that situation. I always have had a horrible idea of a night attack, and I do hope I may never have to encounter one. We marched back to our breastworks that night (about six miles). Reached there about day break; since then I have been troubled with weakness in the back and a general exhaustion from over fatigue. I was not able to keep up and do duty with the regiment, so I was sent off with a lot of wounded, as that was no place for a sick man, looking for a big fight at any moment. I think I shall be recruited enough in a week or so to return. Don't feel any anxiety on my account, as everything may turn out for the best. Write me at this place as soon as you receive this.
Yours, etc.,

Don't either of you get uneasy on my account and try to come out here. I will let you know if I get bad off to need your attention. I have written you two letters since the fighting commenced; did you receive them? Send me a sheet of paper as soon as you receive this, and I will write you again immediately.

(Excerpt from "Forget-Me-Nots of The Civil War" by Laura Elizabeth (Battle) Lee.)