Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Soldier's Lament

Men who served west of the Mississippi often felt overlooked and unappreciated. Recently, I have been reading Michael A. Mullins’ book, The Fremont Rifles: A History of the 37th Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry (Wilmington, NC: Broadfoot Publishing Co., 1990) that documents the activities of a unit that served mostly in the trans-Mississippi. Mr. Mullins included a quote from a letter written by Captain Eugene B. Payne in September 1862:

“’The fact is I was born for excitement and must have it. Oh, if I were only down in Virginia or Maryland, there I could get fat on excitement. True, I might get hit, yet I would not get killed no sooner than I would here, unless—unless it were my destiny. Alas, Alas, we western soldiers will be as little thought of after the war besides the Potomac heroes as our old grandmothers at home, yet…we have saved the American Republic west of the father of waters’” (Mullins, p. 131).

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