May 10th, 1862
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you and the children and all of the rest of the folks well. I rec’d your letter of the 4th of May this evening and was glad to hear that you was getting along so well although it brings the tears every time I get a letter to think that I am so far from you and the children. Yet I think that if I die in the struggle that I will die in a just cause. Our regiment just got in yesterday from Lebanon, Tenn. where they had a desperate fight with a body of rebels under a notorious Ky. robber by the name of Morgan. The rebels were about 800 strong while ours did not amount to more than 600. But our boys whipped them badly, killing seventy odd and took 200 prisoners, 155 horses, 180 stand of arms and chased the balance of them 18 miles. All of the Hardin boys were in the fight except me & John (Vine?) & Wm. Branch & Hugh Patterson. There was one of our company killed and 5 wounded. The one killed was from Spencer Co., Ky. Among the wounded was Wm. C. Smith & Henry Rose both from Hardin. Jo took a splendid pistol in the fight worth about $30. Some of our boys had their clothes shot all to pieces and some had their horses killed under them. Our Col. was shot in the knee. The fight took place about 40 miles from here. When the regiment started the quartermaster could not spare me or I would have went with them. The wagoners had to stay behind too with their teams. There is no chance for me to get into a fight unless the rebels come to our camp to fight which they will hardly do. I don’t know how long we will stay at this place but I don’t think we will leave here for some time yet. I have just now found some use for Masonry. I have got acquainted with several citizens by that means who would do anything in their power for me. Last week there was one, a Secesh too, came and warned that we would be attacked that night and I told the Col. and he had everything prepared for them which they found out some way and did not come. There was another one of our men got poisoned today and will die tonight and we have to be very careful about eating and drinking about here. I would have wrote sooner but I waited for the boys to get back from that fight so I could give the particulars. You must write as soon as you get this and write every week if you can for I am half crazy if I don’t get a letter every week. Take good care of yourself and the children and kiss them all for me. I never go to sleep without thinking of you and them. So nothing more at present but remaining your affectionate husband until death.
A. A. Harrison
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.