1863 July 2
 

Thunderbolt Battery
July 2, 1863

Mrs. Nancy J. Harden

My dear wife,

I seat myself again to write you one more letter stating to you that I am in timid health, though on duty now.  I am writing at the guard house.  I hope these lines may reach and find you and Mollie well, and all the family.

We have a stirring excitement here today.  We have orders to cook up three days rations and be ready to move at the tap of the drum – and they are preparing as fast as they can.  I do not know where we will go to.  Some say to Charleston and others say to Vicksburg, but I do not know where.

I have got some clothes and some rice which I shall have to leave, if I do not get the chance to send it home.  I reckon I will leave them with Mrs. Spencer, if she don’t leave and Mr. Spencer is sick and not able to leave now.

Since writing the above, I have found out that they are fighting at Charleston and we have to go there post haste.  I do not like to go there, but I can’t help it.  About two minutes ago I received a letter from you which has given me great satisfaction to learn that you was well and all the rest of the family.

I wish I could eat one of them good apples or some of them biscuits, but alas I may never eat one from your hands!  But, I hope I will and that I may get home soon.

I reckon we will start to Charleston by the morning train tomorrow.  We will hardly start any sooner.

You need not write any more until you hear from me again.  I have got a little paper and I will write every chance I get.  If you don’t get a letter soon, don’t be uneasy for I may not have the chance to write soon.

Tell Sammy that I would like to have him with me if he has to go to the Army at all, and Jim Bevel also, though I want them to go where they want to.

You never said which Mrs. Barrow it was that was married, nor which Doyl.  I suppose it is Colonel Doyl and Mrs. Ed Barrow.

We hear that our boys have taken Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Capital of that state, also York, a town in the same state, and that the Yankees are moving their stock, hogs, cows, and horses farther North.

I cannot keep from thinking about our trip in the morning to Charleston.  I dread it, for I hear that they are advancing by land and water.  If so, they will give us fits to keep them away from the city.

You must do the best you can for yourself and Mollie that you can.  I may never get home, but I hope for the better.  You must not forget to bring Mollie up in the way she should go.  Do not learn her to be haughty and proud – I mean vainly so.  I wish I could see her and hear her talk some.

So, I will close.

Farewell for this time.

William H. Harden

To Nancy J. Harden