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United States Volunteers - Surgeon

Item MED-8281
June 15, 1863 Dana Warren Hartshorn
Price: $200.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 3 pages, written in period pencil.

Headquarters 2nd Division
Post of Arkansas, Arkansas River
June 15, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received your letter today dated December 29th stating that you were better. This is the only letter that I have received from you except the one in which stated that your health was so poor. I am glad to learn that you are better and I hope you will take medicine until you are well.

We had a battle here last Sunday. We attacked the enemy in their fortifications. It was pretty hard fight for about three hours. We took about five thousand prisoners. I had to work very hard and this is the first moment I have had to write. I have had to work night and day but it is all over.

A am in first rate health except I got poisoned by poison oak on the face and hands and in a spot that I won’t mention but you had better believe it itches and burns so that I can hardly bear it. But it’s better now. You know I am easy to poison. I had the diarrhea about two weeks ago but I am perfectly well of it. I take good care of myself but I don’t like being on these steamboats. You have had some experiences and know how to appreciate such a life. Nearly all the staff have been sick with the diarrhea.

You can say to Dr. Bigelow that I met him when I went to Chicago to the New Church Convention. He will remember it, I think, if you speak about it. I am glad to hear that you got that hundred dollars. I will send you another hundred when I get payed off. They don’t pay us lately. My expenses are much more than when I was at Pittsburg Landing and on our march to Memphis, board for myself and Bill on the steamer is about three dollars a day and poor at that. But I should save every dollar that it is possible for me to do foe we will need it when I resign.

A few days before we came up the river, Dr. McMillan received an order from the Medical Director of the Department assigning me as Medical Director of the District of Memphis, Headquarters at Memphis. They never gave me the order but I read it. The General asked me and so did Dr. McMillan to come up here. The order for now got lost and can’t be found. I shall write to the Medical Director of the Department and state the facts to him and try and get another. But I expect that I will have to come back to the fight at Vicksburg and help them through. But you need not fear for me. For I shall take good care of myself. I don’t expose myself to any danger.

You mention writing letters stating things. I have never received them. I got the letter in which you stated the death of Harry Gilson. I am sorry to learn of the poor health of Mrs. James and her sister. I will write to Fuller and tell him my treatment for diphtheria. I think he had better make an effort and get a b____y. if he had the spunk of a louse, he would do something to earn a living. I don’t care if there is another homeopathist
in Urbana. They can have all they want. I shall never settle there again. (Although it is better to command in hell than serve in heaven—this is an old saying). I can’t cope myself up in a country place again.

I hope you will take good care of yourself now and get well. Be very careful until the bowels get perfectly well not to walk or ride if it hurts you. Take medicine until you are well. Send me the doctor’s address and I will write him after you get well. If I come to Memphis, I will send for you. So be very careful and take good care of yourself. Now don’t worry about me. For I shall be careful and keep out of all danger. Write often and address your letters to Memphis and they will be forwarded to me wherever we may be.

I will now close. May it please the Almighty to restore you to perfect health.

This is from your affectionate husband,

D. W. Hartshorn