These web pages honor and preserve the Civil War experience of Harmon Harden, my great grandfather, his family, his friends, and his comrades-in-arms. The story is beguilingly incomplete. Thus it remains a work in progress. Most of the work to be done from now on rests with you, interested visitor, who may have access to yet another small piece of information that will paint a fuller picture of his life and his community around Milner, Georgia (and Irwin County later) during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Together, I hope we can make that era and those people alive and real so our children will appreciate more who came before them.
Specifically, here is how you can help:
Identify unknown individuals, places, organizations, units, terms, phrases that are mentioned
Contribute your own knowledge of events and people mentioned
Contribute your own knowledge of the larger history happening then
Nominate other web sites for linking to this one
Contribute related documentation such as births, marriages, deaths, wills, deeds, maps, places, census data, tax data
Add to the list of WHH descendants
Search for the missing correspondence
Submit other related correspondence
Submit photos of family, friends, and comrades
If we do this well, then perhaps our work here can serve as a model for similar efforts to illuminate another community's unique story.
I cannot refrain from this appropriate quote:
"...when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana (1863-1952) in Reason in Common Sense, 1905
Once again I want to thank the following relations who made this work possible: William Charles Harden, his daughter Victoria Angela Harden Berger who had the foresight as a doctoral student at Emory University to have the letters microfilmed and placed in the library's Special Collections, Charles Ira Harden, Jr., and the star of the story, that Confederate turned minister, William Harmon Harden.
My acquired wisdom says it is too much to hope that the correspondence of William Harmon Harden will somehow prevent another American civil war or armed conflict anywhere. But with the international electronic passport we call the World Wide Web at least any lessons to be learned here can reach a limitless number of present and future humans.
15 August 2008