The Confederacy Is Lost- 

If You Want To Understand The Minds Of The Soldiers That Fought In The Civil War And The Reasons Why They Fought That War, Read Their Letters And Poems 

Edward Fontaine,
Diary, May 11, 1865

I am in a state of intense anxiety to know what will be our fate as a nation. Our armies are disbanded on this side of the Mississippi. I suppose that they will be also surrendered on the other side of the river, unless the nations of Europe come to our rescue. If I could have issued the necessary orders for invading the north when I advised it last year, the power of our enemies would have been overthrown. 

Now without a Northern revolution, or Foreign intervention I see no hope for the South for many dismal years. I fear that God has ceased to work miracles. He certainly seems now to be on the side of our oppressors. We are in our last struggle & without his almighty aid the Southern Confederacy will cease to exist in the next four months, and no monuments will be erected by this Generation for the graves of the hundreds of thousands of our heroes who have fallen in the defence of our native land, no provision will be made for the support of the widows and orphans of these martyrs of liberty, & no pensions will be given to the maimed myriads of the patriot soldiers, who “with half their limbs”lopped off will wander as helpless beggars over their subjugated country. 

While our enemies insultingly exalt over the glorious battle fields where our greatest defenders died in vain. O thou Almighty Ruler of Nations who blest our fathers with thy direction and defence in their war for the independence of the British Colonies in America — be now our Sword & Shield! See how our enemies triumph! See how our mighty have fallen, and our weapons of war perished. O come to our help and deliver us through our Almighty Savior. Raise up some great Deliverer for us that we may soon praise Thee as our Country’s Savior — Amen.

John K. Bettersworth and James W. Silver, ed. Mississippi in the Confederacy, p. 358.

Flag of Company A, Blount Guards, 23rd Regiment, Mississippi Infantry. Accession Number: 1968.61.1 (Museum Division Collection)

The Canadain Soldier by Sgt. M. J. Watts

He is profane and irreverent, living as he does in a world full of capriciousness, frustration and disillusionment. He is perhaps the best-educated of his kind in history, but will rarely accord respect on the basis of mere degrees or titles. He speaks his own dialect, often incomprehensible to the layman.

He can be cold, cruel, even brutal and is frequently insensitive. Killing is his profession and he strives very hard to become even more skilled at it. His model is the grey, muddy, hard-eyed slayer who took the untakeable at Vimy Ridge, endured the unendurable in the Scheldt and held the unholdable at Kapyong. He is a superlative practical diplomat; his efforts have brought peace to countless countries around the world. He is capable of astonishing acts of kindness, warmth and generosity. He will give you his last sip of water on a parched day and his last food to a hungry child; he will give his very life for the society he loves.

Danger and horror are his familiars and his sense of humour is accordingly sardonic. What the unknowing take as callousness is his defence against the unimaginable; he whistles through a career filled with graveyards.

His ethos is one of self-sacrifice and duty. He is sinfully proud of himself, of his unit and of his country and he is unique in that his commitment to his society is Total. No other trade or profession dreams of demanding such of its members and none could successfully try.

He loves his family dearly, sees them all too rarely and as often as not loses them to the demands of his profession. Loneliness is the price he accepts for the privilege of serving.

He accounts discomfort as routine and the search for personal gain as beneath him; he has neither understanding of nor patience for those motivated by self-interest, politics or money. His loyalty can be absolute, but it must be purchased. Paradoxically, the only coin accepted for that payment is also loyalty.

He devours life with big bites, knowing that each bite might be his last and his manners suffer thereby. He would rather die regretting the things he did than the ones he dared not try. He earns a good wage by most standards and, given the demands on him, is woefully underpaid.

He can be arrogant, thoughtless and conceited, but will spend himself, sacrifice everything for total strangers in places he cannot even pronounce. He considers political correctness a podium for self-righteous fools, but will die fighting for the rights of anyone he respects or pities.

He is a philosopher and a drudge, an assassin and a philanthropist, a servant and a leader, a disputer and a mediator, a Nobel Laureate peacekeeper and the Queen’s Hitman, a brawler and a healer, best friend and worst enemy. He is a rock, a goat, a fool, a sage, a drunk, a provider, a cynic and a romantic dreamer. Above it all, he is a hero for our time. You, pale stranger, sleep well at night only because he exists for you, the citizen who has never met him, has perhaps never thought of him and may even despise him. He is both your child and your guardian. His devotion to you is unwavering.

He is a Canadian soldier.

Confederate Uniform of Private John T. Appler, 4th Missouri Infantry

John T. Appler lived in Hannibal, Missouri, when the war broke out. In 1861, he was among those who answered pro-secessionist governor Claiborne F. Jackson’s call for troops by joining the Missouri Volunteer Militia before joining the 4th Missouri Infantry (Confederate) in early 1862. 

Appler fought in several engagements in Mississippi, including the Battle of Corinth, where he was wounded in the shoulder and taken prisoner. Appler escaped, rejoined his unit, and participated in the Vicksburg campaign. He was badly wounded at Champion Hill and left for dead on the battlefield. 

Once again, he was captured and hospitalized but recovered from his wounds. After the war, he moved to St. Louis, where he worked as a printer. He was active in Confederate veterans’ organizations for many years and died at the age of 80. Appler’s butternut uniform shows evidence of the wounds he sustained during the war.

A U.S. Army sniper Specialist watches over members of his unit, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, Task Force 228, 172nd Infrantry Brigade as they tend to a Soldier who injured his knee. The unit was on a joint mission with the Afghan National Army into the mountains outside Forward Operating Base Tillman. Paktika Province, Afghanistan Sept, 2011.