Near Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky
Jan. 19, 1862
I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. I am tolerable well at present and I hope these few lines may find you and the children and all the rest of the folks well. I started to write to you the other day but I had only time to write a few lines. I had to expedition and I had been out two days so I concluded to write again. There is a good many of our men sick and there will be a good sick yet for we have been laying on the wet ground ever since we have been here without any straw under us. And the water runs under us every time it rains. There is only about two thirds of the men fit for duty at this time. The boys from Hardin are all well but David ________. He is at the hospital sick with measles. There is some talk of being disbanded but I don’t know whether there is any such good luck for us or not. If we are not disbanded I reckon I will stay here until March. Our camp is four miles from Bardstown on the turnpike leading to New Haven. It was very nice in a woods pasture place when we first came here. But it is knee deep in mud now. You must write as soon as you get this if you have not already wrote. I would like to know how mother is and how you and the children are and if folks are getting along. I would like to be at home but I have got myself in this scrape and I will have to stand it. But if I live to get out of this I will never be caught soldiering again that is certain. We did not know what hard times was until we come to this place. We don’t get more than half enough to eat and our horses are not half fed and everything goes wrong. I will tell you what we have to do so you will know how much idle time we have. We get up at 6 o’clock and answer roll call. Then we feed and curry our horses and wash which takes up the time till 7 when we eat our breakfast. Then we water our horses. Then drill on foot until dinner. Then at 1-1/2 o’clock we go out and drill on horseback until four. Then water, feed and curry our horses. Then get wood for the night. By this time it is after dark. So you see they keep us pretty busy. When you write direct your letter to Camp Morton near Bardstown, Nelson Cty., Ky Cal, Boyles Reg., Company D. So nothing more at present but remaining your affectionate husband until death.
A. A. Harrison
P.S. Tell Martha, Jo is well.
Absolom A. Harrison
Company D, 4th Regiment, Kentucky Calvary Volunteers (Union)
A. A. Harrison sent the following letters to his wife Susan Allstun Harrison. Susan’s grandmother was Nancy Lincoln Brumfield, Thomas Lincoln’s sister and President Abraham Lincoln’s aunt.
These letters were transcribed by A. A.’s great-grandson Ronald A. Harrison who introduces the letters with the following background:
“A. A. Harrison and his brother Jo (Joel) apparently got caught up in a recruiting drive and enlisted in the Fourth Kentucky Calvary, U.S.A., without even going home to tell their wives, Susan and Martha. The first letter appears to be letting Susan know what has become of her husband. The two brothers served honorably for roughly a year. At the end of that time A. A. was medically discharged. At roughly the same time Jo died in a military hospital in Nashville. Only recently has anyone in the family known Jo’s fate.”
Letters found on this web page January 2008.