A Soldier On Peace.
HEADQUARTERS 3RD DIVISION, 2ND CORPS,
CAMP NEAR PETERSBURG, VA.,
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 186.
Your kind and ever welcome letter of the 14th [September 14, 1864] came to hand on the evening of the 19th [September 19, 1864]. I was so glad to hear from you, to hear that you were well, and I hope that you may ever remain so. Your letter found me well and in good spirits, anticipating a speedy termination of this cruel war, when we shall all return to the fond embrace of loved ones at home. From the present appearance of things, I think the rebellion is about drawing its last breath. A few months will determine whether we are to have a Union or not. The Presidential election will in a great measure determine the fate of the rebellion. If Abraham Lincoln is elected, which he certainly will be, I think the war will be over. We have instances every day almost to prove that such will be the case. We are having victories almost daily which go to show that we are right and will come out victorious in the end. Yesterday Gen. [Gersham] Mott, our division commander [3/II/AotP], received an official dispatch from the War Department, signed by Gen. Grant, that Sheridan has gained a complete victory over the rebels in the Shenandoah valley. He hurled the rebels through Winchester and captured from twenty-five hundred to three thousand prisoners, nine battle flags, nine pieces of artillery, and all their dead and wounded fell into our hands.1 No doubt the Copperheads will tell you this is not true, as they generally do, but news of that kind, coming through Gen. Grant’s hands, cannot be denied. And yet there is a certain class of people in the North that will stand up and cry for an armistice, so that terms of peace may be offered to the rebels, while Jeff Davis has emphatically declared that he will accept no terms other than the independence of the Confederacy, and a restoration of all slaves that have been set free. Look at our grand armies in the field. Are they in favor of an armistice and negotiations for peace? I say emphatically NO. But I will tell you what kind of peace propositions the soldier is in favor of. Such as Gen. Grant shall issue from Richmond, through the cannon’s mouth, so that all can understand them, and written with the saber and bayonet never to be wiped out. Such is the only true way of obtaining everlasting peace and a restoration of our glorious Union, and the glorious old bloodstained banner, the stars and stripes over every foot of American soil. These are my sentiments, and I will give my life if necessary to uphold them.
SOPO Editor’s Note: This article was transcribed by Roy Gustrowsky.
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- SOPO Editor’s Note: For more on the 3rd Battle of Winchester, fought September 19, 1864, see here. ↩
- SOPO Editor’s Note: William H. H. Shimer, the author of this letter, was a member of 110th PA. Here is his service record page at Fold3.com: https://www.fold3.com/page/635166137-william-h-h-shimer ↩
- “A Soldier On Peace.” The Bedford Inquirer, October 14, 1864, p. 3, col. 3 ↩