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81st Illinois Infantry

Item LTR-5849
February 4, 1864 Jordan C. Harris
Price: $225.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Vicksburg, Mississippi
February 4th 1864

Dear Companion,

I take my pen to write you a few lines to inform you of our good luck in not having to go on the expedition which started this morning. And that we are all well. No new cases of smallpox are in the company. Companies K, F and D were sent out last night to relieve three companies of 7th Missouri, which were stationed at a bridge about two miles outside the fortifications on the rail road (so probably we will have a good long stay at this place) yet your letter of the 26th ult. I received yesterday. And let me assure you it was received with pride instead of blushing as you wrote that you feared. Banish those fears from your Velery forever. For I am proud of my wife and proud of the good letters she always writes to me. If I knew that my letters to you were read with as much joy as I read yours, glad would I be. It gave my mind more ease to hear that Viola was well.

Orson is writing home now. Marion is still staying in the city. They have very good health. The weather is still very delightful and it appears to me that it would be very pleasant to roam over these sunny hills with you by my side. Solemn meditation comes from my mind here. Sometimes while strolling around to see the surface of the ground dotted so thickly with little mounds with perhaps a rude board to mark the spot where the soldier lies.

Friends and foes are found here. And there I know we must all bow to the irresistible power of death but I don’t want to die in the field of conflict and among my friends. I hope my last hours I’ll spend and among them my body be laid to rest. I am not kept so busy now as a while past in writing and we will not drill much more for a while. We get rations plenty so our condition is first rate as soldiers but I can think how it would be possible to be in a better condition. I have the presence of comrades and brothers dear. But the one I am writing to now is absent whose presence is dearer to me than any other’s. this place is a very nice one still you know “there’s no place like home.”

All around may be gay and cheerful even when we’re bound to sigh for the “blessed ones at home.”

Orson is learning to drill very fast and bids fair to become a model soldier. His heart is baptized in the cause and that not Methodist like I am.

Heape, he and I sleep together. And we are thick as three in a bed. I have nothing interesting to write to you.

My oft repeated request, I will still ask of you to remember me in your prayers.

J. Carroll Harris

To his dear wife and inquiring friends and relatives.

I opened your letter and gave it to Mr. Provert. I wanted to see if the boys had left February 16th.