The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944 Page: 440
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
young soldier unfolded the story of three terrible years of suf-
fering, devastation, and death.
The narrative of young Upson written from diaries, journals
and letters, has as much realism as a twentieth century war
novel. There is the story of the sweetheart back in his little
home town; there. are accounts of his first drink of whiskey;
of his first attempt at smoking; of long weary marches all
the way from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Savanah, Georgia; of
fraternizing with the enemy; of meeting a relative among those
captured by the Federal Army. There is also the grim realism
of disease and death. With regard to the terrific losses at
Missionary Ridge, Upson related, "Once I went back after some
ambulances and saw a pile of legs and arms as big as a haycock
where they were amputating." Later he related how he rode
over the ground where the battle of Chickamauga had been
fought and observed, "Thousands of dead, hastily buried, were
around me. The winter rains had, in many places, washed off
part of the thin covering, and arms and legs protruded from
the ground. It was a ghastly, ghostly sight." In all wars life
becomes cheap, and yet Upson, so often in the presence of death,
never quite ceased to sorrow when a comrade left him. When
Joel Royce died, he wrote, "It looked pretty hard to see him
without any coffin or box, wrapped in his blanket and buried
in a shallow grave without even a prayer or a shot fired over
him." He quickly added, however, that, "We are too busy to
spend much time over the dead."
The wantonly destructive march of Sherman through Georgia
is described in detail in the latter pages of the book. It seems
that railroads were the particular objectives of Sherman's de-
st'ructive armies. Upson described what he saw as follows:
With sledge hammers, hand spikes, or anything else
handy, the ties are knocked loose from the rails, the first
plates unbolted, the pine ties made into piles, set on fire
and the rails laid on top. When they get red hot in the
center, about 20 men get hold of the ends and wind them
edgewise around a telegraph pole or small tree.
On one page of this interesting journal the author related
a story which must be taken by the readers as proof that
revenge in war methods is not the invention of modern war
lords-they have only improved upon them. While moving out
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 47, July 1943 - April, 1944, periodical, 1944; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146054/m1/489/: accessed October 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.