1864 Jan 28
Briant County, Georgia
January 28, 1864
My dear wife,
I seat myself to drop you a line to let you know how and where I am. I am well, except a bad cough. I hope these lines may find you and Mollie well, also all the rest of the family and friends.
We had taken up the line of march night before last at three o’clock and then we went to Savannah. Stayed there about an hour, then left on the Savannah & Gulf train for the Ogeechee bridge, a distance of twelve miles. Then we left the train and took a steamboat which was in waiting for us at the bridge. Then we went down the river 28 or 30 miles to Genesis Point, or Fort McAllister as it is called. Here we landed, came out, and tumbled about here last night.
We are in a very good house, but I don’t like the place. We never can get to town from here to buy anything that we should need. It is said to be twelve miles to the nearest point of the railroad from here, so I think the chance is bad about getting anything from home but letters, and I don’t believe we will get our mail as regular as we have been doing.
The country along the railroad is very low and swampy interspersed with immense frog ponds filled with tadpoles. One of the most sickly countries I ever saw. I would not live in this place for all the money I ever saw.
Then all down the river from the railroad bridge to Genesis Point seems to be one grand rice plantation, and Negroes all along on every little bluff and sometimes in the marsh. I don’t know how they live in this country in the summer season.
Jane, you need not send me that box of provision until I write again.
The Yankees landed on Whitmarsh the day before we started. They wounded one man in the regiment. They came up with one ironclad and two transports, some say. The pickets said that they landed about twelve hundred Negroes and whites. Our boys (one company) retreated to the center of the island to wait for reinforcements. At last accounts, we have not heard from these since we left. They may stay there or not, I can’t tell. I think they will have to fight if they do. I have been here twelve months and I have never seen a better prospect for a fight, though I hope it will not occur.
Direct your letters thus.
W. H. Harden
Ways Station Number 1 1/2
Savannah & Gulf Railroad
in care of Capt. D. N. Martin
Mr. Orear will write some in this letter and we will back it so you or Mrs. Orear, either, can get it. If you get it first, send it immediately to Mary.
I will close for this time.
May the Lord be with us all, etc.
I remain you devoted husband until death.
William H. Harden