Friday, April 2, 2010

"let them pass by..."

"My dear wife you should no me better than to think for one moment that I came out here to stop bullets for I intend to let them pass by and give them all the room I can at that for there is ware the danger is if you go to stopping bullets you are sure to get hurt but if you let them pass right by then is no danger not the least so do not let that worry you?"

So wrote a soldier in the 1st New Jersey Cavalry on this day in 1864. John Pownall enlisted on October 5, 1863. Seven months later, to the day, he was dead. Killed at Todd's Tavern.
He was a husband and father. What drove Pownall to enlist? A bonus? Maybe. Love or country or wanting to take part in the greatest event in his lifetime? I doubt it. If this was the case, he would have enlisted in 1861.
I don't know. But I suspect he saw an opportunity to make some easy money, doing light service in the Cavalry. He spent the winter mostly in Fauquier County, participating in patrols and chasing guerrillas. Not what he anticipated back in October.
His Overland Campaign was brief, like so many others who spent their last days in Culpeper and Fauquier County.

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