A Soldier’s Letter: “I will ask no greater honor”

“Every man was born for some purpose and if it is my lot to leave earth on the battle field, I can only say . . . Lord give me grace to endure it,” wrote Thomas Martin of the 76th New York Infantry on March 14, 1863. “For should I stay at home and see others fighting that I might enjoy privileges equal to them, I should be a coward indeed and in after life I would have a conscience more guilty than Cains . . . for rather I would die, or be crippled for life, for in after life I will ask no greater honor than to have it said of me that I now belonged to the army of the Potomac.

“I am daily growing more rabid as I think of the rebellion and of the noble slain. I have long since forgot to call the rebel states ‘wayward sisters’ it is [too] mild a term the only way I can give utterance to my feeling is ‘Traitors Die.’”

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