1863 May 9
 

Thunderbolt Hospital
May 9, 1863

Mrs. Nancy J. Harden

My dear companion!

It is with gratitude that I seat myself to drop you a few lines which will inform you that I am not well.  I am up and about.  I go down to camps every day.  It is about a fourth of a mile.  I think I am mending and will be well in a few days though I may not.

I am taking quinine now.  I have taken enough today to make a portion of Martin’s Mill pond bitter.

I hope these lines may reach and find you and Mollie well, also all the rest of the family connection.

Tell Dick he must be a good boy and take care of Mollie.

I have a heap to write about, but my quinine makes me feel so dizzy that I am bothered to think.

One of our companies left here day before yesterday to go up to Rome to help fight there, but they will have to come back.  But they lived about Rome and it was a good chance to get to go home.  They are to be back in 12 days.

Colonel Gordon said we would have to go Virginia or Tennessee soon, that is in two or three weeks.

I am treated very well at the hospital.  We have kind nurses and attentive doctors.  Though some of the boys grumble, I have no occasion to grumble at all.

I saw an alligator yesterday, seven and a half feet long.  One of our men killed him over on Whitmarsh.

When I say our boys or men, I mean Gordon’s Regiment.

I will rest a few minutes and then I will think of something else to write.

Mr. Benson just now came up here and brought me your letter of the seventh instant and I was glad to hear from you.  I was about out of heart.  I want to come home.

I can’t tell what is the reason I cannot get your letters sooner.  I have not got the money that you sent me by Captain Martin.  I reckon Eliza did not give it to him.  The Captain has never said anything about a letter.  I asked him if he heard from my folks while he was there, etc., etc.

I am sorry to learn that you have lost the best cow you had, and also sorry that Pa has lost so many.  I expect somebody has got them.

I am very much surprised to hear that Joe has run away.  I am afraid there is an enemy there who is stealing Negroes and cows.  If so, you must catch him and swing him to a limb so that he can’t get a toe hold.  I would sooner thought Margaret, Susan, Carrie, or Bettie would have run away before Joe.  I am afraid Joe is a bad Negro.  Tell Daniel I think he is a white man, that is a white principal.

I am afraid you will be uneasy about me when you hear that I am in the hospital, but I think you need not be.  You know that I will be taken care of if I get down, and I will write soon if I get worse.  The doctor will not let women stay at the hospital with their sick husbands.  I think that is very hard indeed.

Mr. Benson was puny, but he is about well.  Mr. Orear is well.

Keep this a secret.

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[You know that I intend to get a furlough and the hospital is the place to get it in.  My intention is to get it next week.  I think I can fool the doctor and if I can, I will come home soon as I can get off.]

I want to say that we have not drawn any money yet and if I get a chance to come home, I will have to borrow the money to come on, if I can.  If you get the chance, send me that which you started and I will save it until I see whether I come home or not.

You must be of good cheer and know that the fortunes of war cannot be avoided.

So, I will close.

Farewell my love.

W. H. Harden

Write soon.

May 12.

I am still mending this morning.  I have just got up.
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