Jan 11th 1855
Paddy in the Wars
Extract from a letter of a private soldier - an only son, to his mother, living in a poor cabin near Moynalty :-
“The camp at Ballicklava,
“Ol ahager Jewel - Shure its sorry your own boy wod be to friten your old hart by telling you all the despret work we is having every day. Mutther of Moses, if you and my own darling Kitty - by my conscience I was near forgetting her. How is every bone in her body ?
As I was going to tell you when I began to speak of that darling - if you and she only saw us lying in the down trenches, bad luck to them - and its raining cats and dogs.
Oh! An’ throth and its yourself would drop sauspanfuls of tears for the poor fellow that left the sweet little house and cow - not to speak about you and Kitty - and all to seek for oner. Musha and it’s a little of it goes a great way here, and mighty little I seen, unless you think it war the mark to get a bullet from one of those hairy vagabonds, the Russians. Pon my conscience I’d think it much more onerable to die of starvation in Skibereen, and be taken home and beried what you might call decently. But, agra ma cre, sure I must tell you some of my courageous exploits.
You must know, avourneen, that I was one of the bravest fellows in the army, so I was chosen to cross the river at Alma first, so in I dashed, and the rest of them after me, and if you only saw the bullets and shells flying about me, sure it was enough to make my heart full. Well, I got to the other side of the river, after being wet up to the neck, and just as I reached the bank my shaco was struck off by a cannon ball, and if you only saw your own beautiful nobyheaded boy, without a bit of caubien to save his head from the sun, sure you would have broak your hart out and out.
On I marched till I got a bullet right thro the caf of my leg, so down I fell. Well, I looks about me and I sees no Red Coats, but a lot of them hairy villains only, half dead about me, and one in particular.
Holy Saint Pether! Will I ever forget the cut of the vagabond till the day I get the mould over me?
Well, I saw the scoundrel lift himself upon his elbow, and with great pain raise the gun and fire at me, but St Patrick saved me, and the gun missed.
With that I crouched over the wretch and caught him by the gullets, and says 1, By the hole of my coat, if my mother’s son had you down in Moynalty its little hee’d think of kicking half a score of ye’s -
Well, I must end here, and entroth if I was down with you once more it would take a power of talk about honour to coaks me away.
And hoping you and Kitty all the happyness of the Bradys, I remain yr son and Kitty’s ever true hearted lover.
Copyright 2002 / To date