July 16th, 1862
I take my pen to hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I came up here last Saturday after the mail and Sunday morning the rebels attacked the Federal troops at Murfreesboro and whipped them out and they have yet got possession of the place. It is on the road from here to Wartrace so I cannot get back until our men retakes Murfreesboro. The rebels were 4000 strong and all cavalry. I have not heard from our boys since Saturday as Wartrace is 23 miles the other side from Murfreesboro. The troops here have been lying on their arms for 2 or 3 nights expecting an attack. The rebels are attacking our troops at every point since the fight at Richmond. Jo & Hugh Patterson have a discharge signed by our Doctor, the Col. and the Captain and it only has to be signed by the Medical Director at this place which I think he will do whenever they are presented to him. They came very near starting home Saturday as I came up here. They will start as soon as I get back to camp. I see in the paper this morning that the rebels are playing the wild in Kentucky. I expect we will have to come back yet and clean them out. I am afraid they will ruin all the Union people if there is not some troops sent there. There is a report here that McClellan’s army has been cut to pieces. And also that the rebels have retaken Baton Rouge again. I am thinking this war will last a long time yet and I don’t know whether we will whip them at all or not. I have wrote one letter to you since I got back and I have been looking every day for an answer. You must write as often as you can. I would like to hear from you every day. These —– times I would like to see you all but I don’t know when I will get home again. So nothing more at present but remaining your affectionate husband until death.
A. A. Harrison
Since I closed my letter I have heard that the railroad bridge at Murfreesboro has been burned so I don’t know when I will get back to the regiment. It is too dangerous a road to travel by myself. All our troops at Murfreesboro were taken prisoners that were not killed. And some folks here say they were all killed after they surrendered but I don’t believe that. I will write again as soon as I hear from our camp. The boys were all well when I left but Jo & Patterson. The Doctor says they are not dangerous but he thinks it is best for them to go home where they can be taken care of. You must get along the best you can and try and be satisfied and write as often as you can and don’t forget to kiss the children for me. Tell father & mother & the children I would to them all. We have not been paid as yet and I am afraid the paymaster will not come while the rebels are cutting up. 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.