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Ozzy

"A kind of wild excitement..."

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The full quote:  "A kind of wild excitement seized me and my comrades, and we would rush forward, thinking of ourselves as Invincible."  This is how Private Thomas Keen described being in battle, in company with his fellows and with bullets flying all around. Found in I thought it my Duty to Go: the Civil War Letters of Thomas Keen (1838-1908) of the 1st Nebraska Infantry, edited by James E. Potter, and made available by the Nebraska Historical Society. Twenty-three letters from August 1861 (one month after the 1st Nebraska was mustered into service at Omaha) until 1864 (when Keen was mustered out at Hickory Street Hospital in St Louis), covering duty in Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and back to Missouri.

Of interest, because Keen vividly describes the action of Colonel Thayer's Nebraska Regiment at Fort Donelson; and the role of the 1st Nebraska in overcoming the Confederate break-out attempt (pages 138-141, in a letter to his parents; and another letter to his sister.)

There is also a Letter of 25 March 1862 from Crump's Landing (of interest because Keen indicates the Army is under command of General C.F. Smith: shows how the word failed to trickle down to the troops.) Two letters from May 1862 reporting the action of the 1st Nebraska during Day 2 at Shiloh. And a surprising series of letters sent from Paducah and Corinth (late May to early June 1862), wherein Keen describes his 'detached duty at Paducah for Signals training.' (However, after he and his fellows were trained for duty with the Signal Corps, and reported for duty at Corinth, General Halleck ordered the Corps disbanded; and the men were returned to their former units...)

Available here:  http://www.nebraskahistory.org/publish/publicat/history/full-text/NH2000MyDuty.pdf   (Letters of Private Thomas Keen, 1st Nebraska Infantry)

 

Ozzy

 

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