1863 May 24
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?