1863 June 8


Thunderbolt Battery

June 8, 1863

Mrs. Nancy J. Harden

My dear companion,

I seat myself to drop you a few lines, which will inform you that I am well, only a little bowel disease, hoping however, that these lines may reach and find you and Mollie well, also all the rest of the family connection.

I received the letter by Mr. Benson yesterday and I was on Whitmarsh.  I have just got back.  I had to go in Corporal Tillery’s place, he taken sick the first day he was there.  We had a fine time over there scouting and hunting beeves.

I have got so I can lie down and sleep on the ground just as well as anywhere else.  I went off Sunday morning scouting and I got sleepy and I lay down in the woods and went to sleep, and when I woke up it was most night and I in a dangerous place.  I thought I would be scary but I don’t think I have felt the least alarmed since I have been here.

Some of us went in about a mile of Fort Pulaski and we expected the Yankees every minute, but I do not think there was a man afraid.  This scout took place on Wilmington Island.  We saw no Yankees nearer then the fort.

We killed the largest rattlesnake I ever saw.  He was about six feet long.  We killed one beef while we were there.  They are as wild as deer.

We had two alarms by night while we was there.  Before I tell about the alarm, I will state how we were situated.  There was four points on the island to be guarded.  The first was manned by the Captain, a Sergeant, and fourteen men.  The next by a Sergeant and Corporal and fourteen men.  The third by a Sergeant and eight men.  The fourth by a Corporal and eight men.  My post was the fourth one, about half a mile from the first.

Captain Martin sent me word that they heard the boats coming and for me to reinforce him immediately.  So, I left two men on post and took six with our guns and double-quicked down there and formed in line of battle and ready to get in the rifle pits.  And we soon found out that it was the wind blowing the water against the bank.  There was three men that failed to come out.  William Orear did not get there until the excitement was over, or nearly so.

The second alarm was real.  Two boats did come up, but they stopped before they got in gunshot of us, or we would have give them particular Jessee (in the way of brag).  I was the only non-commissioned officer that would go with Captain Martin on Wilmington Island, and I believe he is a soldier.  He is not afraid.

I have rambled this whole week with my gun on my shoulder.  I felt free while I was there - had no drilling to do, nor no roll calls to answer to.  We could hunt plums and berries of which there is a great many here, etc., etc.  I will be glad when our time comes to go back to Whitmarsh.

I received that little curl of Mollie’s hair.  It looks very natural.  I wish I could be there to hear her talk and to see you and my babe and all the rest of the family.

I am sorry that Pa can’t find Joe.  Tell him he ought to advertise for him before long, if he can’t hear of him in Pike.  I am afraid he has been kidnapped or killed by some of them Negroes at Banks’ old place, though I do not know nothing about it.  This is just a supposition of mine.

Dear Jane, when you write to me direct your letters to Mr. Benson and make a cross mark thus + and then we will know mine from his.

Write me who you send your letters to the office by.  They may not get there.

So, I will close.

Yours, etc.

W. H. Harden