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The Winter of Our Discontent

The following letter from Isaiah Harlan, 10th Texas, Co. G, wntten 132 years ago, reminds us of the conditions of the fellows preparing to defend Georgia.

Near Tunnelhill

Jan 30th 1864 Dear Ma

I have written to you twice since Christmas but as there is a probability that you have not received my letters I will write again, especially as I will have an oportunity tomorrow of sending one by hand that will cost me nothing. Heretofore all that I have sent by hand have cost me a dollar each. Those that I send by mail cost forty cents cash. The latest news that I have had from you was in a letter that I got from Alpheus written on the fourth of last November. He said he had received a letter from Margaret a few days before which stated that you were all well. I supose however that I have a number of letters on the way here and am looking for them every day with a great deal of anxiety for I wish to hear from you. We are still near Tunnelhill, where we stopped on the retreat after the battle of Missionary Ridge. It is quite probable that we will stay here till Sprin, as it is generally thought that the yankeys in this department will not make a general move till the ipening of spring. I hipe we will be allowed to remain. We have very comfortable quarters and are getting on reasonable well. Health is generally good throughout the army here. in fact it is excellent. Mine has been good for the last six months without interruption. There is still a good deal of gloom and despondency existing in the army, at least in portions of it, and yet many of those whose terms are about to expire are reenlisting for the war. Our officers have been throwing out reelers to ascertain how our Brigade stands on that subject. Most of them are unwilling to volunteer again on this side of the Mississippi river. There is a general disposition amongst them to go to the other side. Some of them are deserting and going over. They profess to be going over on account of the difficulty of getting news from their families on this side, stating that they will go in to the service again as soon as they get back to Texas. The feds made a raid from Chattanooga day before yesterday coming to within a few miles of this place and causing some excitement but our cavalry drove them back. I have not yet heard the particulars of the affair. I think though that it was on a small scale.

cousin Joshua has moved off. He aims if possible to get to where he can make something. He thinlcs that he would not be able to do it here. The old lady his mother stays. Isaiah, his brother, moved sometime ago. He went to Plorida. He was back two or three weeks since to get his goods and chattels that he had left behind. I saw him when up. He is a fine looking man. A good deal heavier than Joshua, but does not favor the Harlans so much.

Dear Ma, I hope I will live to see you again in peace. I still hope that this cruel war will end before very much long though I must confess that I have but little grounds for my hope. You must let me know where I had better write to. I have written several letters to Wheelock which you may not get in consequense of the suspension of the mail there.

Have E to write if he is still at home. Pray for me.

Your affectionate Son,

Isaiah Harlan

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