Part of a letter from Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Killough to her brother Alex in response to his letter about the death of their brother Jim in the War Between the States, as the Civil War was called at the time..
December the 10th 1864
A. M. Killough
Dear Brother I write to you again but it is with the same miserable awful dreadful feelings with which I wrote to you before. Oh Alex how can we ever bear it, how can we even stand to live and poor dear Jimmie gone. Oh it seems to me if I could I would leave this world of trouble. Days and weeks have passed away and left me the same poor troubled miserable creature. It seems impossible for me ever to feel any better in this world but I don’t feel like I want to and Jimmie not here to enjoy life too. It just seems like I want to go way from here and to go to where I will never see anybody or anything of the world again and there spend the balance of my days in sorrow and distress for all. Oh I count as nothing here I am so miserable the world seems nothing to me now I wouldn’t have given Jimmie’s life for four million such worlds as this. I would rather have given the whole Confederacy up to the North and worked for it for the rest of my life than to have given Jimmie’s dear life to have saved it from subjugation and to gain independence. What good will the independence do him and poor troubled us who are left here in distress. I know poor Jimmie did not want to die in such a way. Oh I didn’t know what a horrid war this was until it has came home to us. Oh dear me it seems more than we can even bear it seems like nothing on earth could have happened to have hurt me as bad as this. Seems like I want old Gano killed. (General of the army in the attack) He had no business dragging the men up there to attack them in their fortifications. If the enemy had come down on you and you have been compelled to have fought them it would have been a different thing. Seems like I could have bourne it better if possible, but just to think he was drug way up there to be killed and buried away in that Indian Country and buried in such a manner. Oh me how can we ever bear it. I feel like I could walk and go to where he is, Alec. I want us to go to where he is just as soon as we can go there and take him up and bring him back here and bury him right.
She wrote two more broken hearted pages and signed the letter: Your sad, sad hearted sister.
M. E. K.