“I am individually opposed to war; however, when imperative duty calls me to the field of actual war to resist the onward march of an invading foe, then, and not until then, will I respond to the demands of patriotism voluntarily. If our pious friends in the North, whose sham philanthropy for Southern slaves is excelled by avaricious envy and legislative meanness, still refuse to listen to the pleadings of reason, and mock at the offerings of justice, then all that is left for the South to do is to cry, like a certain people of old once did, “To your tents, O Israel'” ~ George Neese, The Author, 1861
George M. Neese (1839 -1921) was a 22-year-old young man from New Market, Virginia when his Country was invaded by a foreign army. He personally opposed war but his sense of duty caused him to enlist in the Virginia Militia in Winchester, Virginia. Then on December 11, 1861, he joined the artillery with the expressed purpose of operating with Colonel Ashby’s Cavalry.
And operate he did. For three years, he kept a daily record of his activities. It appears that he was faithful, honest and well read, which I’m sure will come as a surprise to those who believe the “Rebel Army” was comprised of ignorant back-woods bumpkins Not so, George Neese typified the intelligent Christian young men of the South who were duty bound to protect their homes and freedom.
A remarkable feature of Neese’s narrative is his devotion to duty as evidenced by the absence of complaint. He marched and fought without rations, sometimes for days. he slumbered on the soaked or frozen earth for brief periods of sleep without a blanket; he slogged for great distances through extreme mud helping his horses move his cannon.
His odyssey took him to every theater of the war in Virginia; from Moorefield in the West to the Wilderness in the East, and North to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But alas, his ear ended on October 9, 1864 when his battery was captured. He was subsequently dispatched to Point Lookout Prison Camp in Maryland.