1863 Mar 6
March 6, 1863
Mrs. Nancy J. Harden
My dear wife,
I seat myself to drop you a few lines which will inform you that I am well as common. I have a bad cold at this time. I hope, however, that these lines may reach and find you and Mary Z. well.
I received your kind letter yesterday and was sorry to hear that you was sick with some kind of breaking out. I hope it will not last long and that you will be well when you get these lines and even before.
I was glad to hear that the smallpox is not doing much damage in Pike.
Everything is quiet here now and has been for the last two days, but we have had a little fighting here, but no one killed on our side. There was two men slightly wounded and one gun dismounted. We mounted her again that night after dark and two men were wounded then, both slightly. The Yankees were repulsed three times. They had only three wooden gunboats and two ironclads, so stated. We are expecting them to attack us with about 75 or 80 vessels. If they do, somebody will be hurt.
We will draw our money in a short time. Our Captain made out our payroll wrong, as we would have drawn it today. It is here ready and waiting for us again this morning, the seventh of March.
I seat myself to finish my letter. I am still well this morning and no news that I know of in camps, only the usual theme of telling strange and wondrous tales.
I am glad that Pa has sold Jack, and if he has and has got the money, pay the old man Lynch what I owe him and take care to make him discount, for it is not right for me to pay him 40 dollars now which is due next Christmas. Then keep some for yourself – as much as you need – and pay Granny Cook the balance on that note which stands due against me, and be certain to credit the note with the amount paid. Your Pa will tell you what that is.
I wrote to your Pa to send me some shirts. Tell him he need not send it now, as I am well. I thought I was going to be sick when I sent for that. I do not want to spend money for nothing.
You know I would be glad to have some butter and some fruit, for that would help me very much, as anything from home will be gladly received.
Tell your Pa if he has got much salt to buy, not to give 20 nor 12 dollars per bushel for it there. We can get it here for 5 or 6 dollar per bushel, so stated, and if he wants me to, I will buy some and send up when I get my bounty.
Tobacco is two dollars and 1/2 per pound, so the time is drawing nigh when I shall be forced to quit using tobacco.
Listen, I hear the cannons firing now, but I don’t know the cause.
We have the finest of weather down here I ever saw for the time of year. We do not have any too much rain and there are some of the nicest vegetables here I ever saw. English peas are in bloom. Collards and cabbage large enough to cut. Some of them are fifteen inches across the top, and all kinds of greens are here, and we save our slops and swap for greens.
Dear Jane, you cannot tell how much I miss you and Mollie. I have often thought that I was the happiest man in Pike. You made me so by being kind and agreeable, and my absence from you has made me more fully understand how to appreciate your love and affections, and if I could be with you and have Mollie to prattle around my knees, I would be happy again.
But while I am dwelling upon these delightful topics I would not forget to recommend to you that Christian Love and fidelity which will make us happy in a world to come, if we should never meet in this any more.
Give my respects to our parents and to all of our brothers and sisters and inquiring friends.
May God bless, console, and protect you is my prayer.
So, I will close.
William H. Harden
To Nancy J. Harden
P. S. Tell Tom Cook that tobacco is a good price here and will pay.
W. H. H.