Tuesday, July 12, 2011

All I Ask Is to Fight For My Country

From the Southern Confederacy, July 12, 1861.  This is a portion of an emotional letter from a nineteen year old young man, pleading for his father's blessing to join the war effort.  The writer was a young law student.

Oh! call me not back.  Rather immure me in some loathsome dungeon; let me be the cringing vassal of some heartless tyrant; bind rivet the clanking chains of an ignoble perpetuated slavery upon me, rather than shower my head the blessings of a liberty bought with the blood of others.  Let me pour out the gushing fountain of my own heart to secure my own rights, and I am content.  I want no liberty but my own, achieved by my own exertions and purchased with my own blood.  Call me not a blind enthusiast.  Does love of country need a stimulant to call it into action?  Must Reason be dethroned that the fires of patriotism may be aroused?  No idle dream of fame, no slavish love of money, actuates me.  All I ask is to fight for my country.  I want no remuneration.  Give me a few tattered rags to hide my nakedness, a crust to appease the gnawings of hunger, and Liberty.  and I am happy.. .

W. E. Rogers
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Unidentified Confederate Soldier, from the Library of Congress Collection

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