The Hand of a Merciful God
A Collection of Civil War Letters from Confederate Veteran David Ballenger of the 26th Alabama Infantry
Compiled by his ancestor, Douglas G. Hubbard
150 years after the Civil War, stories and tales survive. Libraries are filled with historical documents, manuscripts and photographic images that cover all aspects of the American Civil War. There are thousands of history books and documentaries giving us facts that have been recorded but countless stories have never been recorded—personal stories of men who fought and died, stories of men who survived. We don’t know all of their stories; we don’t know the whole story. Yet this is our history and these are our ancestors. To truly understand what drove these men to look into the face of death on a daily basis we must listen to them. But, the time is far past where we could speak to those who knew the truth, who experienced the war. Now we only have the stories from our ancestors as passed down through generations. As decades pass, generations fade, the chances to hear these stories are lost. We are fortunate, however, that many soldiers documented their experiences in letters written to family and friends. This is one man’s account of the years he spent fighting for the Confederacy. No one better to tell the story than the man who lived it. If we remove our preconceived notions and bias as we read, we can comprehend the struggles that the soldiers went through: the hardships they faced, the missing of family, the loss of friends and the devastation that they saw.