1864 Jan 31


Fort McAllister

January 31, 1864

Mrs. Nancy J. Harden

My dear Jane,

I seat myself to drop you a line to let you know that I am well, except my cough, of which I am a good deal better.  I hope these lines may reach and find you and my baby both well.  Also, all of the rest of the family connection and friends.

I have just come in from inspection this morning.  Night before last, I was on guard and I did not sleep much.  The Yanks kept bothering us from 8 to 11 o’clock with their rockets.  They were giving signals from Warsaw Sound to Stone Island, and we had to report all strange lights seen toward the Yanks.

They also fired two heavy guns.  I was acting as Sergeant of the Guard and was up most all night.  I thought they were going to come and give us a trial, but they did not.  I hope they will stay away while we stay here.

If you was here to see where they fought last spring, you would be astonished to see where the breastworks were torn up and houses torn to pieces.  Just think that you see a ball weighing over 300 pounds – larger than a half bushel.  Such balls were thrown here at that time.  One of them is here now to show for itself.  Then there is another long shell here - it is 21 inches long and about 7 inches thick, weighing 240 pounds.  But they only killed one man here then, and he was a Major.  The fortifications here are the best I have ever seen.

I don’t think the Yanks will ever take this place.  We keep it well guarded and we have some of the finest guns here I have ever seen, and some of the largest.  You need not be uneasy about me.  We are as safe here as we were at Thunderbolt and we don’t have near so much guard duty to do.

We will go on guard about once in 10 days I think, but our drill is the same, heavier by one hour in the day, and we can’t get to go to town often, and we don’t see anybody here but soldiers and Negroes.

I drew 26 dollars yesterday.  I will send you 24 of it first chance I get.  I sent you one pair pants and a sock in a little sack in a box with Mr. Orear‘s things.  I want you to sell the pants, as they are too small for me.  Maybe Dick Maury will take them for your shoes.  They are worth fifteen dollars.  I could have sold them here for twenty, but soldiers are not allowed to sell their clothes here.  I hope you have got shoes before now.

I want you to have anything you need, but do not spend any money foolishly because we will need more than we can get.

I want you to send me that box of provision.  Send that little box that I used to keep my books in.  Send it by express.  Mark it

W. H. Harden

Savannah, Georgia

And send me a letter forthwith, and I can go to town and get it.

I want you to be sure to send me a shirt, but do not send any tobacco.  My old shirt is most gone.

Do not put much cooked victuals in the box, for fear I don’t get it as soon as it comes.

I could read this. as well as any that is your letter.  I think I could read if you would write on the blue paper – I wish you have some of this.

Jane, you will have to hoop that box, or they won’t bring it for you.  You can tack some hoops around it so it will not burst open.  If you send me a bottle or dram or jug of syrup, be careful to pack them so they won’t break.  They are very careless about handling boxes on the railroad.

I hope Ed will get a discharge.

Tell Lizzy to send me a towel.  I need one and I want her to send it to me.

We have been without meat ever since we have been here.  Until yesterday, we drew a little.  We were very scarce of bread, too, in consequence of our removal.  We will get bread and rice enough now, I reckon.

We have had 11 or 12 days of very fine weather here.  I hope it will stay so.  I am tired of bad weather in camps, although we have got good houses to stay in here and have tolerable good water.

We are now under Major Henderson.  I think he is a very clever man.  He seems to try to take care of his men.

I expect to go to the bridge to do ten days guard duty if I keep well.

Mr. Benson is at the hospital sick.  He is very bad off at times, but I understand he is better today.

Mr. Orear is on guard today.  Our boys are generally well – only five or six on sick list.  We used to have twenty.

Jane, you may back your letters thus:

Corporal W. H. Harden

Company G

Ways Station Number 1 1/2

S. A. & G. R. R

Fort McAllister, Georgia

It will come if you will back them right.  The S. A. & G. R. R. stands for Savannah, Albany, and Gulf Railroad, but you may just put the letters down like they are up there.

I will close.

May the day soon come when we may be again reunited to remain together until death shall break the tie.

And may the Lord bless us all.

Yours, etc.

William H. Harden

The mail will leave in a few minutes, I will have to close.

Do the best you can, and don’t be uneasy.