Letters Page 1_Letters Page 2_Hardin Page_Genealogy Home



June 20, 1862 to May 5, 1863

Edited by
Frank Ross Stewart, Centre, Alabama


1- 2- Jan. 7, 1863, Camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi
Jan. 28, 1863, near Vicksburg
Feb. 16, 1863, Mississippi camp near Vicksburg
Feb. 19, 1863, Camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi from F. Minton
1- Feb. 25, 1863, Camp near Vicksburg, Mississippi
March 15, 1863, Mississippi camp near Vicksburg
April 19, 1863, Camp near Vicksburg, Miss., from Rob Sloan
1- April 20, 1863, Camp near Vicksburg, Miss.
1- May 5, 1863, Camp in the Old Field

Letters Page 1_Letters Page 2_Hardin Page_Genealogy Home

The Vicksburg Letters

This the 7 January [1863]
State of Mississippi Camp near Vicksburg

My dear Father and Mother,

....... Your letter I received by the hand of Robert ..... I am well at this time and hoping thes few lines find you enjoying the same likewise. I have nothing of any importance to write. We got here safe and sound. We got here just too late for the fight. And left Murphresburg just too late for the fight. So I think we have had good luck. I hope we will always have good luck. We have plenty to eat since we have been here, but it is ruf. Git corn meal we have to eat it without siftin. We have peas, and rise and shugar and molasses and beef tho I donte like this cuntry. We are in the mud all the time.

I would like to see you all but I want never git to come home unless I do like the rest of the boys. If you git this before the boys leave tell them the conscript officer will git them. Ther names have been sent to the conscript officers. Babe saved himself by comeing on when he did if he had not he would have been reported. I have been where I could not see land. I have seen a heap of this would since I left Mobile is the largest sitty that I ever saw. If shod live to git back it will be a satisfaction to me. I will know all about all the sitties and steamers of our little confederate states. If I git to come home I will tell you a heap. You wrote to me to get a furlow and come home. I ant got a chance for that. I recd the money you sent and the brade.

The brade came at a good time. The health of our company is not very good. There is several of the boys sick at this time. Graham Elliott, is sick and two or three that we left at the hospital, We left More Dean at Montgomery sick and Andrew Sword is sick. Frank and Babe is well as common. I think that we will leave here in short time. I should not be surprised if we dont go back to Tennessee ... I would be glad to come home .... if it was to do once again they would all go home .....

Milton Hardin

To Asa and Annis Hardin

"I donte like this cuntry. We are in the mud all the time."

" ...tell them the conscript officer will git them. "

This is the 28th day of January l863

Dear Father and Mother,

I seat myself ..... I have not much to write except we have hard times hear. We have bad weather and sickness aplenty. We have small pox in our company. B____ John has got them He was bad of. It seems we never bee permitted to git home alive but I hope that we will.

I shall always regret not coming by home with babe. I would be glad to see you all but ther ant any chance onless I runaway. I think if live tell sumer I will com any how ley them say what the will I am going to try for a transfer I jas the small pox get out of our company I dont want to stay hear for several reasons. One is we have the meanest captin in the confederate state

I want you to rite to me son as you git this and ley me know how you ar gitting along in this trubisom world we are campt in the mississpp swamp in the cane brake so I think of mother more at this time.

So I remain your affect son tell death

Milton Hardin

To Asa Hardin and family

" We have small pox in our company "

Feb. 16th 1863 Mississippi Camp near Vixburg

Dear Brother,

.... Camp is about one mile of town ... I dont like this place and hope we will go somewhere else. We are looking for a fight here any day but I am hoping that we get disappointed. Thear is some coming here nearly everyday .... Women and children were ordered out of town about a week ago.

There was a Yankee gun boat went down the river by vicksburg knight before last and there werent but about six guns fiard at them, I believe they can pass whereever they please, and our cannon cannot pass them. This place is mity well fortyfide thear is two er three hundred nigers throwing up brest works all the time.

Tell Mary and Hala that Frank and Bob is well Tell Rubin that Will is well. Tell Mary Hardin that I send here my best respects. and also Mary and Hala. It is muddy .... rain. In a heap of places the mud is halfleg deep.

Eli I want you to tell all the girls howdy for me, and give them my best respects. Tell Pap and Mother that I wrote to them a few days ago and will write again. Tell Ve and Billy and Map they must be good boys until I come home. Eli you must not hug the girls two mutch.

Tell mother I dont want any close for I have as many as I can tote.

Milton A. Hardin

To Eli Hardin

" I think if live tell sumer I will com [home] any how, let them say what the will. "

Feb. 19 Camp near Vicksburg

Dear Father and mother,

..... Since I have been writing for Milton thought I would write you ... We have very hard times here. I reckon it is the same everywhar. I want to try to have me and Milton detailled to work on the railroad for I think that will be all the chance for us to ever git home ...

F. Minton

Asa and Annis Hardin

A letter from Frank Minton.

Camp near Vicksburg Miss
Feb. 25th 1863

Dear Father and Mother,

I seat myself ..... I received all the things you sent me and they was all nice, and good but the pies. They was moulded and unfit to eat and I was very sorry of it.

Robert and Frank is both well and the health of the company is very good. There is not a man in our company but what is able to go about and wait on himself. We have been very lucky as far as sickness and fighting is concerned. Very unlucky about getting to go home. A great many of the boys talk of going home as soon as we get some money. We will draw in a few days I think. Some of the Redgements in our brigade have drawn already.

Well as to war news we have a little but not of great interest. We are laying on the south side of the Mississippi River and the Yankess is on the other side. We can see the gunboats and transportation boats. The Yankess bombed Vicksburg for three days slowly doing little or no damage and there was heavy bombing in the direction of Werrenton. We have never heard the result yet. There was a telegram came to town from Fort Hudson that there was a Yankee Gunboat run the blockade at Fort Hudson and that two of our boats was in pursuit of her. Some thinks that was the bombing we heard last night.

Our Redg. was at Warrenton on picket last Sunday and about one oclock we heard heavy cannonading at Vicksburg. It was the heaviest I ever heard. We all expected they was bombarding the town but they was only celebrating the birth of Gen. Washington and some said they had received reenforcements what made them fire so heavy. I will close for time. Nothing more but I remain your affectionate son.

Milton A. Hardin

To Mr. Asa A. and Annis Hardin


Mississippi Camp near Vicksburg
March 15 18[63]

Dear Father and Mother,

..... you said you want me to write often .... I got a letter from Eli ... There ant mutch news .... nor much talk of a fight here ... Know they are some talk of piece ... but I dint put much faith in it ... They are some talk of going to Morebeal but I am afraid we wont get to go fere I want to leive here ... Our captain has got back to us .... Tell Mary and Hala howdy. Well pap I have drew 44 dolars wages and I will send you 25 dolars by Lieutenant Paterson and he will send it to you by William Grifey ....

M.A. Hardin

To Asa and Anis Hardin


April 19th Camp near Vicksburg Miss

Dear Father Mother,

... hard times and that any any news ... Yanky started up the river last night and ..... sank one boat and one transport ... Yankee opened fire on the sity when they got in reach ... seems as if the heavens and earth in one solid crash ... it was a prety sight ... and a very amusin sight ... the Yankees came sheling the sity and has been ever since .... Milton hasnt come yet I have not heard from him since the 10th ... he was on sanfoure river about 100 miles from here by water dont know how far by land ... I give M. J. Alexander .... if you are amind to ... I will send ma ten dollars by billingsley ... and take it and pay it as it goes if Mahala ... ant needin it ... if she does I want her to keep it ....

Your son until death,

Rob Sloan


April 20th Camp Near Vicksburg 1863

My dear Father and Mother,

.... to let you know I got back to my command safe and,sound ... There was a heap of time I never saw land ... We have been out on a fourigan expediton. And sometimes within two hundred yards of the Yankess. If they had saw us they would of got us shore. One night we could not find any land and we had to tieup our skiff and climb up in trees and stay until morning.

Our boys drawed money while I was gone. Frank drawed mine and sent you 10 dollars by Lieutenant Billingsley ...

M. A. Hardin


Camp in the old f ield May 5th /63

Dear Father,

I drop you ..... Well Pap we are on a retreat from the Yankees. But we have got far enough ahead to stop and stay all night. We fought them at Port Gibson the first day of May. They were two great in numbers for us. and we had to fall back. Port Gibson in forty miles below Vicksburg. We have gone back in eight miles of Vicksburg. The Yankees got 13 of our own company. I will give you the names of some of them. Lum Arrington, John D. Lambert, John King, Gray Elliot, Bill Gibson, Bill Parker and Goss H. William Couch got killed by a cannon ball the second fire they made at our battery. General Tracy soon after the fight commenced. Colonel Hundley got badly wounded and taken prisoner. It is thought that we will give up Vicksburg soon. We lost our knapsacks and everything we had.

I want you to write to me as soon as you can and let me know how you are getting along.

Tell all the children howdy for me. I havent time to write much as we are expecting to leave every minute.

I received your letter the second day of this month and glad to know that you are well. You wrote to me something about clothing. I need some now but I dont know how I will get them. I will write you when we get stationed. Nothing more at present. But I remain your son until death.

M. A. Hardin

To Asa Hardin

"In December, the 31st accompanied Stevenson's Division to Vicksburg. In May 1863 it helped defend Port Gibson, Mississippi, where the regiment suffered severely. It fought at Baker's Creek, and the loss was heavy. As part of the Vicksburg garrison, the regiment suffered through the siege, and after losing a number killed and wounded, it was surrendered with the fortress." Over nineteen thousand Confederate and Union soldiers were "snatched away" there.

Milton Hardin survived Fort Gibson. I had been told he died at Vicksburg, but we find two M. A. Hardins paroled at Vicksburg:
1. Hardin, Milton A., Co. B., Pvt., Enlisted Cherokee County 3-27-62, 18 at enlistment. Paroled at Vicksburg 9 July 1863. Signed his name. Paroled again at Cane (Cave?) Springs, GA on May 16, 1865. Signed his name. 21 years of age at the time. He was 5'11" tall with a fresh complexion, dark hair and hazel eyes.
2. Hardin, M. A., Co. B., Pvt., Paroled at Vicksburg on July 4, 1863.Captured at Big Shanty, GA on June 15, 1864. Sent to Nashville, Louisville and on the Rock Island. Released from Rock Island on May 9, 1865."

Since a family Bible says the latter is Milton Avery, then the former is Milton Augustus if the records are correct.

Source: Hundley's Ragged Volunteers: a day-by-day account of the 31st Alabama Infantry Regiment, CSA (1861-1865) by Rex Miller. 1991: Patrex Press, Depew, NY.

These transcripts were obtained from Margaret Stewart by Don Hardin, now deceased.

Don Hardin contributed a copy to the Hardin Family Association, which is pretty much one man: J. Oran Hardin, 2500 Winniagham Rd., Crewe, VA 23930. I got a copy from Oran.

Last updated 28 Aug 2009.