“I Have a Duty to Perform”

March 19, 2015 | Civil War

Every man was born for some purpose and if it is my lot to leave earth on the battle field, I can only say . . . Lord give me grace to endure it. For should I stay at home and see others fighting that I might enjoy privileges equal to them, I should be a coward indeed and in after life I would have a conscience more guilty than Cains … for rather I would die, or be crippled for life, for in after life I will ask no greater honor than to have it said of me that I now belonged to the army of the Potomac.

I am daily growing more rabid as I think of the rebellion and of the noble slain. I have long since forgot to call the rebel states ‘wayward sisters’ it is [too] mild a term the only way I can give utterance to my feeling is ‘Traitors Die.’ Be not uneasy about me, I say again, for I have a duty to perform, and I will endeavor to perform it, come what will.

Thomas Martin, 76th New York Infantry, March 14, 1863. He was killed on July 2, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Read the full letter in History of the Seventy-Sixth New York. Found on Emerging Civil War.

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