Voice from the Past: "Not peace, but a sword"

Posted 12/26/2011 By Laura June Davis

Happy Holidays! Today's Voice from the Past is Wilder Dwight of the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. The following passage is an excerpt from a 15 December 1861 letter to his mother:

We can hardly receive the Christmas message, ‘On earth peace, good-will toward men,’ in any obvious and literal sense this year. It is said to be the appointed time for a holiday massacre and uprising among the slaves. It is certain that few Christmas firesides which do not miss a soldier from their circle can gather in our land. ‘Not peace, but a sword.’ Yet I can confidently wish a Merry Christmas to you, and look forward to a happier New Year. We are fighting a good fight; if only we can be true to our cause and ourselves, we have the right to indulge the brightest hopes and rely on the best promises. God is with us. 

Citation: Wilder Dwight, "Letter from Wilder Dwight, December 15, 1861," in Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols. (Boston, MA: Ticknor & Co., 1891), 349.

Photo Credit: Heritage Auctions.
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