March 11th 1862
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all well. The boys from Hardin are all well. We are in Bardstown at present. Our company and —- are acting as provost guards. We moved in here last Thursday. I expect we will stay here for some time. We are camped in a vacant lot in town. We have to stand guard here every other night. We are all so glad to get out of the mud and to get here on the dry street even if we were to stand guard every night. The talk about disbanding has nearly died away. I don’t think there is any prospect of being disbanded. Yet I would be very glad if they would turn us loose and let us all go home. Jo rec’d Eliza’s letter last night and we were glad to hear that you all was well. We have not got any money yet. They keep telling us we will get our money in a day or two so I don’t know when we will get it. But I hope it wont be many days more before we will be paid off. I don’t know when any of us will be at home. The Captain has not let any of the men go home since I came back. Although he has promised Jo that he might go home as soon as we were paid off. We have one very unpleasant duty to perform here and that is burying the soldiers that die in the hospitals. There is about six hundred in the hospitals at this place and they die at the rate of about four per day. We also have to put out patrols of 5 or 6 men to walk around town and arrest every soldier without a pass or drunken men and put them in jail till they get sober. Tell father he may go on and sow them oats if he can get the seed for I will not be back in time enough to sow them no how. And if you can sell any of that corn for a good price you had better sell some of it and manage things the best you can until I can get back. You must write as often as you can. I looked hard for a letter yesterday but was disappointed when the mail came in and nearly all boys got letters but me. The war news from everywhere is cheering. The federal troops are gaining ground everywhere but it may be some time before peace is made. I must bring my letter to a close for it is nearly time to go on guard. So nothing more at present but remaining your affectionate husband until death.
A. A. Harrison
P.S. Kiss the children for me.
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.