Rich man’s war, poor man’s fight?

CSA General Earl Van Dorn

Perhaps you have heard this phrase about when men go off to war   . . . . “a rich man’s war, and a poor man’s fight.”

Well,  read the following diary account of a 115th Illinois Union soldier who records some comments of captured rebel soldiers in late March 1863 in Franklin. General Earl Van Dorn was active in Williamson County and Franklin at this time.  These Confederate prisoners of war are from Van Dorn’s army, more specifically, they belonged to Nathan Bedfort Forrest’s cavalry corps.

“I conversed a good deal with the prisoners while guarding them. They seem to be a very gentlemanly set of men and many of them intelligent. They say they and the majority of the army are willing to return to their former allegiance if they can be guaranteed their rights under the constitution. They blame their leaders as well as ours for misrepresenting the public sentiments . . . They are from Alabama & belonged to Van Dorn’s command but under the immediate command of Forrest.”

March 26th, 1863 – from the diary of Zeboim Carter Patten (1840-1925) , 115th Illinois Infantry, Co H

Source: The Civil War Years Revealed Through Letters, Diaries and Memoirs. Rick Warwick. 2006: 83.

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