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Tears Over A Missed Battle
While there were many deserters in the Civil War, others wanted to fight for their country and were disappointed when not given an opportunity. Such is the story of Private ...

Tears over a Missed Battle

While there were many deserters in the Civil War, others wanted to fight for their country and were disappointed when not given an opportunity. Such is the story of Private Joseph Gann.

I once saw a man shed tears because he had missed being in a battle. The man was Joseph Gann of our company. When we received orders … to strike tents and start we knew not where, Joe was down sick and could not go with us. But when the news reached him that a battle was actually going on at Manassas, he got up and set out to join the company. He reached us two or three days after the battle and, standing in a group of the boys who were telling incidents of the day, he listened as eagerly as a child to a fairy tale. As he drank in the stories, his eyes filled with tears that flowed over and coursed down his cheeks. “Excuse me, boys; I can’t help it; the one battle that I came out here to be in has been fought and I have missed it;” I was at his side when we went into the next battle … and I am sure he was glad when the order to charge was given; and when the Vermonters took to their heels at our first volley, accompanied by the stirring “rebel yell,” and we stopped from our pursuit of them and dropped into the ditch at the water’s edge, I could hardly keep him from hugging me. He was so overjoyed. He was in a number of other engagements, but after awhile he left us to take a lieutenant’s place in a company of the Fifty-fourth Georgia, in the western army, and in the battle in Atlanta. July 22, 1864, he was killed—three years to a day, almost exactly, from the day he shed tears because he had missed the battle of Manassas.

Joseph Gann had the same eagerness David had when he answered the challenge of Goliath with a slingshot. What made the difference for David was his utter dependency on God.

David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.”

1 Samuel 17:32


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