A. J. Continued his retelling of events the next day:
We got back to our lines as I say and were prepared to advance
again, but the rebs kept coming. Finally the Penna and Michigan
Regiments advanced too. We moved forward again, and I seen
those same young faces, now dirty and scared as one might
expect. But they grew up fast in thoes few minutes. They were
fierce soldiers. I had no more stomach for it. They were hardly
more than drummer boys carrying guns. I fired over their heads
at older Rebs on there right. I was reloading when I was hit.
I knew it would happen sooner or later and I prayd God it would
not be bad. I have heard of men not knowing at first they were
hit, that it is sometimes like a terrble sting. I knew it tho.
I saw it too and could not beleve it had happened. It hit me in
the hand, near the center joint of my fore finger. It tore my
finger just about all off and it bled terrible. There was pain,
a great deal of it, and not so bad that I could not continue,
as was my duty. I placed my kerchief about it and tied it as
tight as I could until something better could be done. I
remember looking for my finger in the mud but it was no where
to be seen.
When it pained me so that I could not advance something hit me
in the stomack and I thot that I was kilt. I don't know what it
was hit me but I was not injured. I began to retreat as I was
bleading badly and had lost my rifle. Others started to follow
me in my retreat. Then everyone follo'd me. It was disgraceful
the way we ran.
Well as you know the doctors at Mount Jackson amputated the
rest of my finger. They are very busy much of the time cutting
off limbs and patching up afterword. I have not been well since
I was at the hospital at Clarys Ville. I think it is good to be
away from there.
At least I have fared better than some. I am still alive and
was not wounded so bad that they had to leave me, as they did
with the worse off. There are many men we do not know about who
were left on the field and are now prisoners if they are still
alive. We lost 7 or 8 men dead from our regiment alone and
there was hundreds of us walking wounded. The road back to
edenburg was crowded with men and wagons and horses and we were
more tired on our retreat that the day before when we arrived.
If we can get some decent food and provender we will awl be
better off. I do not look forward to Winter here, and hope that
we might take the offensive soon and finish this hellish war.
Maybe by the next time I can write it will be from Richmond.
P'haps I shall be feeling better by then.
Your Loving Husband, A J Wiley
A. J. and the 1st West Virginia fought with Sheridan's army
throughout the Shenandoah Valley for another year, battling it
out with Jubal Early's seasoned troops, skirmishing with
raiders, and waging the "War of Burning" throughout the valley
in an attempt to drive the Confederates out and to deprive them
of their supplies. A. J. survived the war to return home
disabled by wounds and chronic diarrhea, due to dysentery
probably contracted in the military hospital. His grave
monument states only his and Rebecca's birth and death dates,
and A. J.'s military attachment: "A. J. Wiley, 1831 - 1895, Co.
H1 & F2, W. Va. Vol. Inf. - Rebecca J. his wife, 1832 - 1921."
There's nothing there to relate his horror and pain at war, or
his grief over what was done in that beautiful valley.