Camp Sidney Johnson Augt. 2nd 63
Sunday Morning 9:00
My own dear Darling,
Yours of the 12th of July came duly to hand this morning. Written 22 days ago. Just think of it, 22 days since you wrote. You say you was getting impatient to hear from me. Why dear Darling, I wrote to you through Bunting before I left Quincy and after that. It seems to me I write every day.
Don't you get them? You may write often to me but I only get one about every 2 or 3 weeks. It seems to me every body at home has forgotten me except you. Where is Ben that he don't write. & Harris…
Stewart and even Bunting don't write to me from Quincy which he might do every day. It's true I am far away from home but then I can get home sooner from here by way of Savannah than I could by the way of Quincy and Albany. The commissary wagon goes out to the R.Road every day. As for this being a sickly country that's all so. We had another of our company to die the other day but chills and feaver are the only things we have to dread down here & I never did have a chill or a feaver in my life & I hardly think I will as I have escaped thus far. You want me to tell you the truth. I will, every word. I will not deceive you. I have not been sick the least bit since I have been in camp but once & that was a severe head ache caused by the fatigue of our march down here & that only lasted a day.
Our march to the coast after the Yankes I wrote you about, did not phase me in the least. One reason why, I keep in good health. I take good care of myself which I can do because the office I hold keeps me out of many of the hardships of the private soldier. I keep out of the burning sun as much as possible. A private is exposed to it & rain if it comes & it comes often every day & night. They have to stand guard rain or shine, hot or cold. If I get wet I change my clothes and never sleep on a damp bed. Most of the soldiers seem never to care but sleep in wet clothes & damp beds & above all they keep as filthy as hogs & you know I can't stand that. Now for the great secret, I keep as cheerful and contented in mind as I possibly can which is half the battle. I could give up & die thinking about home. But what good would it do me or you. Only make matters worse. So cut loose and sing "Let the world way as it will, I'll be gay and merry still," but never do I cease thinking of the dear ones at home & of the happy times I finally hope are in store for us in some future day which I can not keep thinking is not far distant. When the troops get home they will be better satisfied than they ever were. They can now appreciate home, wife and children more than they ever could. I for one will be satisfied with anything. A log house with you & the children with peace & contentment will be a palace for me. What soldiers use to call hard times & hardships at home they will look back & call them the good old times & sigh for days gone by. I have not said anything about our rating. I'll tell you the truth - it's pretty rough, but I expect it is the best the Confederacy can do. Sometimes we are out of everything to eat except bread & water for two or three days. The reason of that is when draw day comes the boys pitch in & eat too much so the provisions don't hold out till next draw day & another reason is they don't know how to save in cooking. So far I have made out very well. It's hard living I know, but living too high ain't healthy no how. Some days we buy things & have real home dinners, but not near so well cooked. But I can stand my hand in the eating line. It don't take much to do me you know, Anyway I am so well & healthy as I ever was in my life. More so, I am astonished at myself. We are still here with only one tent & that Lt. Craven and McCoy sleep together in & me and Mark Willingham. We have plenty of bed clothes. We have nothing down here to amuse us. We are cut off from the bulletins of the world. We suffer for want of something to read.
Gen. Cobb had testaments given out to the troops which the boys read, some for no other reason but because they have nothing else. We have a game of cards now & then for amusement to pass of time.
But no gambling for one very good reason. The boys are out of money. Lt. Craven is now up in Tallahassee. He went to see if he could not get us paid off soon. I, as of Sept, get $17.00 a month. They are then due me $85.00, as I was mustered in to the Service on the 24th day of last Feby.
They still owe me for my expenses while I was detailed in recruiting service. You need not be alarmed about my playing for money. And as for drinking, the sins of temperance ain't no where in our camp. I'll never hurt my self here. So much for camp life - only don't think the boys never see any fun for they do. To see & hear them some times you would think they were the happiest beings on earth. But never mind, I will tell you all about camps & camp life when I come home, which will be just as soon as I draw my pay. Lt. Craven has promised me a 20 day furlough. I am only waiting to be paid off- & then I am off like shot out of a shivel straight for home. In your last you spoke about clothes. Don't send me any. If providence should will that I do not go home, I will write you how & what to send me. You say you are sitting in the parlor door. Darling, I can see you now. & the dear children asleep. I know how they look God bless them. I hope you may be mistaken about Julia having the hooping cough. If she has, take good care of here. May she have it lightly. What do I think of the war? Well things don't look so cheerful it's afact, but I still think we are nearer the end now than we ever was, but it would take so much paper to tell you all my ideas about it. I will tell you all about it when I come home. (You need not be afraid that furloughs will give out.) I'll just say this much. God has a great plan to work out in this war. So just leave it in his hands - he does all things for the best - the darkest hour is just before day, & every one says this is the darkest. Who can tell but what "tis only an hour to the glorious morrow." So might it be… I think the war will soon be over… I wll be home soon if Lt. Craven didn't lie to me. I don't think he does… I am glad to hear that your are well & trying to look on the bright. You ask me where is the bright, well it's true. It don't shine very bright but you must do like we do the bayonets to our rifles when they don't look well - rub um up & make them bright. Who knows but what this war will work out for our own especial good, let's hope it will. I am sorry to hear that you have not had good luck with your chickens. I am glad to hear that the pigs and cows are getting on well. How much butter and milk do you get new. Has our cow gone dry? Did Ben give me one of Laura's puppies. Tell Fulton I would like to see him very much. Tell him if he wants a plenty to eat to come down to see me. Tell Miss Billa she must not have Johny Mc unless he will go to the war and help fight for his country. He never has done it & I think a single man it's time he was serving his country instead of self. I hope she won't have him, she's too good for him, but every body to their own notion. As the old woman said when she kissed the cow. I think Ben & Mr. Johnson are using… being distrustful of this money. I don't care what the… is in. It will do them no good if the Yankees whip. Nothing but gold & silver will be of any value. Land… houses will all be taken from us to pay the expenses of the war. Gold & silver they could hide away. Other things would not be worth a cent. They would not only take our all but put us to work for them - but thank God they have not whipped us yet nor never will if we will only be true to ourselves & country but if the people will stay at home & put on long faces - why then we are gone - if every body would come out… we could whip the Yankees out & have peace soon - but I see my paper is giving out so I will close this & wait & see you have written to me since the 12th surely. Anyway I will wait and see. I will keep this open and add a few lines tomorrow. Good bye till then.
Your loving Darling,
Notes on George R. Pace Letter - by Mike Pace (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the mid to late 1980's, I was given a photocopy of a four-page handwritten letter from George R. Pace to his wife Lucinda "Lukie" McCommons Pace, by my father, Earl Milton Pace. At the time, I decided to transcribe the letter to disseminate it to other family members. The photocopy was fairly legible for the most part, but there were obviously parts of the original letter which were deteriorated due to folding, aging and wear, so some parts are virtually unintelligible. On 28 January 2011, I decided to retype the original transcribed copy and using the photocopy for a reference, the above letter is the final result. The spelling, verbiage and handwriting of George R. Pace indicate that he was well-spoken and obviously well-educated to have come from a rural background in a small farming community located in Lexington, Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
Research shows that George was mustered into the 64th Regiment Georgia Infantry, CSA as a Private on 16 February 1863, and was appointed 3rd Sergeant on 18 April 1863. His letter is dated 2 August 1863. Records show that from 1-16 September 1863 he was detailed as Commissary Sergeant. Five months later, he was wounded at Ocean Pond (Olustee), Florida on 20 February 1964, just over a year after his enlistment in the Confederacy and that he died from wounds at a Madison, Florida hospital on 1 March 1864. In the early 1990's I traveled to Madison, Florida where I located Oak Ridge Cemetery, which has a Confederate Section, delimited by a low rail fence and a plaque stating Confederate Soldiers Killed in Battle of Olustee 1865. There are thirty graves, each one marked head and foot by small a small stone. Each headstone is inscribed "C.S.A."
A large live oak has grown into one of the graves. If burial records are available, I have not been successful in finding them to date. Footnotes on the 64th Regiment indicate that it was assigned to the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida from the time of its creation until after February 1864 and stationed at Camp Cobb, Quincy, Florida. Quincy is mentioned in the George Pace letter several times.
Family lore, according to my father, indicates that George survived his wounds, but lost a leg as a result and was later able to return home. He is not sure of the source or accuracy of this information, just his recollection.
Other Letters from Olustee
Sixty-fourth Georgia Infantry Regiment
Battle of Olustee home page