The Civil War, Day by Day

Wayside Farewell

Wayside Farewell

It was the common heartbreak of the war - the pain of parting. Throughout the South men in gray and butternut said good-bye to those they loved with no assurance they would ever return home. Along the bitterly contested thoroughfares of war - like Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley - departing Southern soldiers also knew that dear hearts left behind might soon face flame and fury as the war raged their way. Such knowledge made the long absences even harder. “I am in camp surrounded by a crowd of noisy men,” wrote one Confederate officer to his wife, “but I assure you I am lonely and sad...I realize I am separated from my dear, dear family.” Penned another: “You must write me often for I do feel mighty sad and lonesome.”

Despite the hardships and horrors of war, most Southern soldiers stayed the course, believing that they had a duty to the South and the folks at home. “Our family circle has been broken,” noted one Confederate soldier in a letter to his wife. “We believe that somewhere and sometime we must make a final stand in this great struggle. If we are brave men entitled to independence and resolved to win it or perish, here and now [we] will stand or fall.” Loved ones at home waited in fear and suspense, praying that the last good-bye would not be a final one. For an estimated 290,000 sons of the South, the parting did indeed prove final - but such was their dedication to defend home and family. “I...hate to go,” one soldier admitted to his wife. “But as I am in the service of my country, I am willing to go where I am needed most....”

“The Confederate soldier knows the elements of his success - courage, endurance and devotion,” observed a Confederate veteran. “He knows also by whom he was defeated - sickness, starvation, death. (He) will have for all time, in all places where generosity is, a fame untarnished.”

February's Archived Features:

Saturday February 1, 2020
Sunday February 2, 2020
Monday February 3, 2020
Tuesday February 4, 2020
Wednesday February 5, 2020
Thursday February 6, 2020
Friday February 7, 2020
Saturday February 8, 2020
Sunday February 9, 2020
Monday February 10, 2020
Tuesday February 11, 2020
Wednesday February 12, 2020
Thursday February 13, 2020
Friday February 14, 2020
Saturday February 15, 2020
Sunday February 16, 2020
Monday February 17, 2020



All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.