Friday, August 31, 2007

Business of War

In an MSN Money report this week, business writer Michael Brush answers the question:
Who's profiting from the Iraq war? Suffice it to say that if you’re an arms merchant in America, these are the golden days. But that's always the way it is - war would be a lot less prevalent if it weren’t so damned profitable.

The business of war does mean different things to different people. While 1864 was a great time to be an arms merchant in America, a Confederate soldier wrote to his family in Haywood County about the other side of war:

August 31st, 1864
Dear Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

Yesterday I received sister Rachel’s kind letter of the 23rd which contained the saddest news that ever was my lot to receive. I write these lines to let you know that I am enjoying good health, but almost heart broken, once I had a kind loved cousin and a dear and affectionate brother with me but "alas" Ebed is gone, Nathan is gone, never will I have them give me advice again. Now no more shall I have their much loved company, for the narrow graves contains these forms so dear.

I feel alone, but I trust that I have been left alone that they might join each other in a better land. I am very glad that Nathan got home to see all again, and there with Father and Mother and sisters and more especially his loved little daughter near to die. He wanted to see you all and to die at home. Many soldiers are deprived of that privilege - Dear parents, I can hardly give up dear brother Nathan but we must be resigned to the will of the almighty…

Mother if you have a good chance a pair of socks will be very acceptable. Father since I have elected as Lieutenant I have been necessarily compelled to go into debt some. How are you off for money and how are money matters in Haywood? I many have to ask you to send me some, until I get to drawing Lieutenants pay. Maybe Zeke can bring me a small lot of provisions if so it would be treat for me. This is a hard time to play the soldier…

News from the Chicago convention is that some hopes for the peace party-having a respectable number in that body. I guess that McClellan will be nominated, if so he will be elected. I hope peace will soon be made and that on terms just and honorable to the South.

I understand that prisoners will be exchanged. If so I will take Bob and Andy back as ours. Grandpa I often think of you, and am very anxious to see you. I hope that I may live so as not to bring disgrace on the head of parents and grandparents. Give Elenor and children and Annie and children my best love and tender them the heartfelt sympathy of a brother. My love and deepest sympathy are with you all.

I am as ever your affectionate Son.

From Civil War Letters and Memories from the Great Smoky Mountains by Hattie Caldwell Davis

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