1864 Feb 8

 

Fort McAllister
February 8, 1864

My dear and affectionate wife,

I seat myself to drop you a few lines to inform you that I am well at present.  I have nearly got well of my cough.  I hope these lines may reach and find you and Mollie well, also the rest of the family and friends.

I received your kind letter this morning dated the first, instant, and was glad to hear from you that you was all well.

I think that we will be very well satisfied when we get used to this place.  Our duty is lighter every way.

I don’t think you need be uneasy about me.  I am as safe here as at any place.  We may or we may not fight here.  The Yankees have never made any attempt here since last spring.

I wrote you a letter last week and said for you to send me a box to Savannah marked thus:

W. H. Harden
Company G
63rd Georgia Regiment
Savannah, Georgia

I would be glad to get that big ball of butter from Ma.  You need not send me any tobacco this time, but take it and keep it for me.  Pay Wash for it and let him keep it.

I am glad to hear that the boys are all well.  I am sorry to hear that the smallpox is in Griffin.  I hear of none about here.

Tell Pa that he can’t imagine how much good my hat does me these cold rainy nights.  I have refused thirty dollars for it.  I have got twenty-five dollars to send home the first chance I get.
   
I am not surprised at Elihu Brooks’ desertion.  Some of the men from this post deserted two weeks ago or more.  I think there was about eight of them.  They went to the Yanks.

I think I will get another letter and a box this week.

Our provision is scarce, but we make out to live.  We are not hungry much, only for something fresh from home.

I wish I could get to come home, but the chance is bad now.

The health of our company is rather bad now.  We lost one man yesterday.  Henry Freeman died at the hospital of fever – I think typhoid.  He was a good boy - lived up there near Griffin.  Mr. Benson is better.

I will stop writing for a while, as I can’t get this off till tomorrow.

Good morning.  February ninth.

I am still well this morning and hope you are, too.  I think you had better not sell your Janes for money, but if you can trade it for shoes, do so.  I sent you a pair of pants in a box with Mr. Orear.  I want you to trade them if you can profitably.  I want you to have shoes and something to eat if I don’t get anything.

I was on guard last night.  Have just come off and eat my breakfast.  I had a good breakfast.  It was buttercake with oysters mixed in it.  I had more than I could eat.  I wish you had a piece.  I know Mollie would love it and I expect you would, too.

Tell Betty that she must not marry that Long, a Mississippian, until the war ends.  If she does, I shall not give her any credit for it, nor I won’t will her that plantation and Negroes of mine.  Nor she shant have Wash, nor she shant be my sister, nor Mollie’s aunt.  But she will be “Old Bets” Long, as long as she lives.  And when she is dead, she will be dead “Long” though she may be very short.  But when the war ends, if he is a good Long, I advise her to go Long.  If he is a bad Long, she had better not stay long in his company because he may be killed and before long, and then she will be a widow Long.  So, I think it is all long enough.  Not to be in haste - that’s all I have to say about Long.

We have had fine weather here ever since the first of January.  It is a little cool, but clear.  Nice hard weather.

Bill Kindrick is sick with the measles, but I think he will get well, if he don’t expose himself.

Tell Minda and Margaret and Susan and Carry and Jinny that if Betty gets Long, I know they won’t have him.  Oh, I forgot!  I promised not to say any more about Long.  He may have a wife and children in Mississippi.  They beat the devil to fool girls.  I know because I have seen them tried in Macon.

The boys have been hunting all over the battleground for shot and shell and pieces of shell to send to town to have them run over to throw back at the Yanks.

Our boys are erecting batteries on Whitmarsh Island now.  They are preparing a way to have a fight there soon because when the Yanks find out that it is there, they will come and take it.  Now, mark what I say.  It is setting a snare for our own selves, and I believe we will be caught in it.

We bought one catfish the other day which made ten men as much as they could eat.  He weighed twenty-five or thirty pounds.

I believe I have written all I know, so I will close.

May we soon be permitted to meet again, never to be separated until death shall break the tie.

May the kind blessings of God rest upon you.

Good-bye for this time.

Yours, etc.

William H. Harden

To his wife, Nancy J. Harden

Direct your letters thus:

Corporal W. H. Harden
Fort McAllister
Ways Station No. 1 1/2
Care Captain D. N. Martin

Tell Mollie to kiss Grandma for Pa.