Ltr #57 Harbor Copperhead, by H. B. Talbert
[Great Uncle Jesse Talbert, Sr. seemed to be close to or lived close to Harrison's brother Abel.]
Union City Tenn Jan. 18th 1864
Dear & Esteemed Uncle
[Great Uncle Jesse Talbert, Sr.]
This dreary and stormy day I seat myself to write thee a few lines; I do not know that I can write anything of interest but I cannot feel satisfied without writing a little, my conscience dictates in that way, and while it is too bad to do anything out of doors I will try. Yesterday it rained all day and was raining last night when I went to bed. But this morning it was snowing and it made it awful! awful! indeed to get about. This morning I got up out of bed and peeped out of doors and it made me shudder to behold what a condition our horses was in. The snow was some six inches deep, and the mud was equally as deep. And a goodly number of horses was up to their bellies in mud, water and snow. Our horses are starving here. We draw oats but it is fed to them in the mud where they get but little. And the roads are so bad that we forage but little off of the country. We do not expect to stay here long, the troops are going north to Columbus Kentucky daily, and I think we will go in a few days. And from there I think we will go down the Mississippi River but I have no idea where our final destination will be. It will be bad marching now but still I would rather be on the march than laying in camp in our present situation. This place is situated on rather swampy grounds and is naturally muddy, and it is hard work to keep our only place of repose [rest] from overflowing. We have no kind of quarters and take it alltogether it’s pretty rough soldiering.
The country of Tennessee so far as I have seen is far better than Mo. While out on this last scout we passed over some splendid country and through two or three very neat little villages. The soil is fertile and one thing that pleases me so well is because it is so well timbered.
Uncle some forty of our boys have reenlisted in the veteran corps, but I have not nor I dont intend [to] reenlist until my present term of enlistment is out. And such weather as this discourages me from ever enlisting again. I see no signs at present of this miserable war ending soon. And when I get my discharge I propose to try citizenship awhile, unless there is a great demand for soldiers, and go to school. Since I have been in the army I have seen the use of a good education, and I am determined if not providentially hindered to go to school some day or other. Uncle I still retain the same hatred for copperheads [Southern sympathizers] that I always have but I dont know that I can say anything at present that would be of interest, but I want thee to know that is against my principles to harbour such a man as Rosendall [the hired man]. And if Father keeps him and treats him as he has done until I get home I will say and do more to get him removed than I ever have done. In such times as these no man of his principles could stay under a roof of mine. Remember me to Abel and his family and tell them that me and Franklin are both well and hearty and hope these few lines may find you all the same. I am truly and affectionately thy dutiful nephew
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