“Darling, I never wanted to gow home as bad in my life as I doo now and if they don’t give mee furlow I am going any how. I will have to desert. The men is deserting more or less ever night…Darling, I want to know what you think of it. If you don’t want mee to doo it, right back. My life ant satisfaction to mee and I had just as soon die as live.”
So wrote Confederate soldier Wright Vinson to his wife, Christiana, on Dec.15, 1862, while traveling through Tennessee. In Scott Walker’s book, Hell’s Broke Loose in Georgia: Survival in a Civil War -Regiment, there are many such heart-breaking missives from Wright and other privates in the 57th Georgia Infantry, a unit of Mercer’s -brigade.
Walker, who is pastor of the First Baptist Church of Waco, Texas, received his doctorate in adult education from UGA. He is also the great-great grandson of a member in the 57th Georgia Infantry, and in researching the regiment’s history, he discovered letters and diaries compelling enough to convince him to shelve a novel he was working on, and instead coax life from the old documents.
“This is a story bigger than the Civil War,” Walker writes in the preface, “for it is really a story about you and me, about what it is to be a human being in the midst of the greatest conflicts and passions of life.”