1863 May 24


Thunderbolt Battery

May 24, 1863

Mrs. Nancy Harden

My dear wife,

I again seat myself to drop you a few lines which will inform you that I am well at this time, hoping these lines may reach and find you and Mollie both well, and also all the rest of the family.

I thought I would write some this evening, as I will be on guard tomorrow and it may be that I will be on the river pickets.  If so, I will not have the chance to write any more until the next day, but I want to send this off Tuesday.  This is Sunday.  I started one yesterday.

I will write until I get the chance to come home, and then I will tell you more than I can write.

There is a big smoke rising over toward Whitmarsh Island.  We have not learned the cause.

I have drawn up some poetry to send to you in this letter.  I think it is a nice piece.

This is now May 26th, and I have just got back from a picket tower up on Wilmington Narrows, in sight of Fort Pulaski.  I am well, but I am sleepy, and will have to lay down soon.

I have nothing of interest to write.  Our men are getting furloughs daily, and it seems like I cannot get one.  But I will keep trying.

Our guard duty is over now, and we have to stand 2 or 3 days and nights in a week, and a heap of drilling to do, too.

I will finish in the morning – as my candle is gone out – and start right off.

This is now the morning of the 27th.

I am well still.

I put my clothes in my sack last night and thought I would wash them this morning, but it is raining.

If you can, start me some more money on Saturday or Sunday in Mr. Benson’s letter.  Five dollars more will do me.  I want you to send it if you can, for we have not drawn any money, and I think now I will get off about the third or fourth of June.

So, I will close.

Nothing more.

Only, I had a dream yesterday.  They give it to us who guard the river.

I have been a long time about getting a letter.  It looks like I have the worst luck in the world.

Farewell, my dear, for this time.

Yours, etc.

W. H. Harden


Who is it who has to go

Through hail and rain, and often snow

And wade through rivers wide and deep

And toil up mountains very steep?

The Soldier.

Who is it who stays in camp

Be the weather clear or damp

And stands on guard the long, lone night

With nothing but the moon for light?

The Soldier.

Who is it who has to lie

Upon the ground when wet or dry,

His head upon a log of wood,

Who is it, so true and good?

The Soldier.

Who is it who has to stand

With sword or musket in his hand,

With promptness to obey commands

And die if need for native land?

The Soldier.

Who is it compelled by law

To meet the darkest storms of war

And has his wood to cut or saw,

To eat his victuals done or raw?

The Soldier.

Who is it who has to fight

For his country and his right,

Rather to die than ever to give

To foes the land in which we live?

The Soldier.

Who is it who leaves his mother,

His wife, his sister and brother,

And leave behind his dear old home

Away in distant lands to roam?

The Soldier.

Who is it amid the cannons roar

Fights and falls to rise no more,

Without a friendly voice to cheer,

With none to bless or shed a tear?

The Soldier.