|from The Webster Weekly Times,
“The Realities of War.”
J. A. Spaulding, Editor
(Note: reference here is to Co I of the 15th Massachusetts after the battle of Antietam.)
If there have been those in this town who have been accustomed to look upon this war, as little more than the marching and countermarching of men, retreating and advancing, without serious results, the events of the past ten days must have brought such men to their senses. On the 8th of August, 1861, scarce more than a year ago, Webster sent out to the battle field one hundred stalwart men to fight. Sickness and disaster has occasionally brought one home a corpse and another hors du combat; but these incidents occurring at long intervals, have had little effect in making us realize that wars even in the mildest description, is a terrible thing. We have read heart sickening details of the “cutting up” of regiments, where men were mowed down by hundreds and left dead in windrows; but these disasters have occurred to brigades and regiments in which we had no friends, and the recital of even these facts has failed to bring us to a full realization of the horrors of war.
But now comes the truth that our men have fallen, fallen by scores, wounded or dead, and this fact awakens us to something like a just appreciation of what war is. Of the one hundred men which Webster furnished one year ago, fifty went into a fight last Wednesday week, from which but seven came out unscathed; and ten were left stark and cold on the battle field. Here are facts which carry a shudder through every man who saw the company leave our town one year ago.
They are our sons, our brothers, our friends, our acquaintances, who have fallen this time, and we are all ready to speak and echo the truth, war is terrible, terrible. And can we not now realize how millions of hearts are bleeding today, in all the towns and cities of this great country, as ours are now bleeding, at the loss of those who were as near and dear to them as these to us?
Who does not shudder when he considers how a holy God must look upon this unnatural war, brothers inbruing their hands in the blood of brothers, a nations heart wrung with anguish over the loss of thousands of her sons who have been sacrificed to the lust or pride of a few unprincipled leaders. And who shall say what shall be the punishment of those who without the shadow of provocation could deliberately commit or sanction the deeds which they knew would plunge the whole country into protracted war?
The man who can in cool blood plan and execute the murder of a single family, deserves the severest penalty known to human law; what then shall be said of him who by political trickery or intrigue assists in unbottling the Afrite of civil war, and signs the death warrant of tens of thousands of his countrymen? It remains for a just God to provide proper punishment for such fiends in human form.