“I Have a Duty to Perform”
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.