4th KY Cav (US) soldier writes Aug 12th, 1862, from Tullahoma, TN

    Tullahoma, Tenn.
Aug 12th 1862

Dear Wife.

I take my pen in hand to write once more. I have been sick for about a week but I am now getting better. I hope these few lines may find you & the children and all the balance of the folks well. Jo is about like he has been. He is going about all the time but he looks right puny. He is waiting for his discharge to come back from Gen. Buell where it was sent to be signed by the Gen’l. He will be at home as soon as his papers comes back. I have not received a letter from you since I come back. I can’t tell what is the matter. It cannot be that you have forgotten me as soon as I was out of sight. If so I will quit writing. The other boys here are getting letters all the time from the same neighborhood and it is strange that my letters can’t come as well as others. If you have not wrote yet I want you to write and tell me the reason and if you have wrote you must write again and keep writing until some of your letters gets through for I cannot endure the suspense. I have written four or five letters since I came back. I don’t know whether you have got them or not. Lieu’t Barrett and Sarg’t Shanks of our Company started to Louisville yesterday to recruit for our company. If Barrett comes out in Hardin I want you all not to notice him for he has got so proud he don’t notice his old friends down here. If he sees Jo or me since we have been sick he never stops to ask us how we are and I don’t want anybody that thinks anything of me to notice him at all. Meyers boys got letters today which state that all the Secesh candidates were arrested in Hardin except Eli Sheets. I am glad to hear it. I was in hopes they would be arrested. We also hear that there is strong talk of drafting men in Kentucky. I hope they will draft some of the Secesh and make them fight one way or the other. We see in the paper that congress has passed a confiscation bill to take the rebels property away from them. We first heard that the slaves of the rebels were to be set free which caused a good deal of confusion in camp. But we find they are to be sold to pay the expenses of the war and all the soldiers are in favor of that. One of our men died last week of the fevers. There is not much sickness in our regiment at present. We have been at this place most of the time for a month. It is on the same railroad 15 from Wartrace lower down toward Chattanooga or Huntsville. It is higher than Wartrace by 200 or 300 feet and is dry barren land and mostly well water although the water is very good, about like the water at Bloomington and limestone at that. I don’t know how long we will remain here but I don’t think we’ll ever go much further South. At least we will not go very much farther until there is some fighting done for it is only 40 miles from here to the enemy’s camp where they are said to be 40,000 strong. Our pickets and theirs are in sight of each other nearly all the time down there.

TRANSCRIBER’S NOTE: A. A. apparently doesn’t know it but he is actually on his way home. He will be bedridden for weeks at a time off and on for years from the illness he contacted in the service. His letters from Susan didn’t come often enough to suit him. We don’t know the story on that. We do know she cared enough about the letters he wrote to hang on to them until her death on Dec. 30, 1920. She bore him 5 children up to this point plus an additional 8 children after he returned. Contrary to his concerns she stayed with him until his death on March 13, 1914. Maybe that is all we need to know about her side of the story.
As to Joel. He died in service & until recently all anyone knew was he went to the war and didn’t come back. His descendants are presently in Brandenburg, Kentucky. I’m sure there is a heck of a story about how their Great-Grandmother kept her family together in the midst of her ordeal. Maybe someday one of them will be able to tell us that story.
The Harrison’s remained in Lebanon, Indiana until 1871 when they returned to Hardin County, KY. Ten years later they removed to Sikeston, Missouri. A. A. died there March 13, 1914 and was followed in death by Susan on December 31, 1920.


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.

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