51st Ohio soldier asks, “what are we fighting for?” January 1864

Moses L. Whittemore of the 51st Ohio Volunteers: born to Daniel P. Whittemore and Lavina (sometimes Lovina) Goodhue Whittemore in Keene, OH, Moses Langley Whittemore (1840-1865) was the eighth of twelve children. He enlisted as a private on 9/9/1861. Eight days later he mustered into “C” Company of the Ohio 51st Infantry for three years’ service. On 12/25/1862 he was promoted to corporal. He mustered out on 10/3/1865 at Victoria, TX.

In January 1864, Moses is still at Murfreesboro. Jan 16th he writes:

“This is, indeed, an eventful age; the sword is carrying carnage & destruction into several states of our own native land; a million men have seized the weapons of death, and, meeting in deadly conflict, are strewing our lovely plains with the dead, and dying…in short, we are engaged in the most stupendous and important conflict that has ever been known in the history of the world; & what has caused it?…what are we fighting for? These are questions which are of vital importance, not only to the American, but to all the civilized nations of earth. The nations of Europe are watching with an Eagle’s eye…to see whether man is capable of self-government or not;…to have it decided whether there is any redeeming qualities in Protestantism or no…”

Source: Cowan’s auction

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