A good war-date Union soldier’s letter, 4pp. 8vo., written by Pvt. Harlan P. Martin, Co. E, 123rd New York Vols., “In the field near Marietta, Georgia, July 8, 1864” to his mother:
Headquarters, 1st Div. Supply Train
In the field near Marietta, Ga.
Friday, July 8th 1864
We are still in the vicinity of Marietta but south of there this time. The cars come to Marietta now and we get rations there. We are near the Chattahoochee River now. The line on the left is to the river. I understand our corps has breastworks this side of the river in front of us. The regiment has not been in a fight since I wrote you last. The Rebels evacuated their works on Kennesaw Mountain and along the whole line the night of the 2nd of July and fell back about 4 miles. Our troops followed them the morning of the 3rd and came up with them in their works. There was cannonading and heavy skirmishing all the afternoon of the 3rd and on the morning of the 4th. It was found they had gone again, leaving 3 or 4 lines of strong breastworks. They followed them up then to where they are now and threw up breastworks. I was up to the regiment yesterday and it was talked there we would stop along here 2 or 3 weeks. Whether there is anything in it is hard to tell. I would not be surprised if we would stay some time here and again if we would be off again in a day or two.
Our train is about 2 miles back from the Division encamped. From some parts of our line they can see the spires and steeples of Atlanta so you can judge how near we are to the Gate City. There has been a good many stragglers and deserters picked up from [Joseph E.] Johnston’s [Army] since he fell back. I heard an officer say we had taken more prisoners than we would in a good battle. We are encamped near an orchard so we get plenty of apples and we have apple sauce all the time. It would be a good thing if the whole army could get all the green stuff they want to eat. No green fruit or vegetables — nothing but Hard Tack, Pork, & Coffee have given the men more or less the scurvy or something like it. The blackberries are just getting ripe now and in a few days we will have plenty of them.
The weather is very hot but we have nothing to do and can keep in the shade. we get along very well. But if we have to march and stir around in the sun much, we feel the effect of hot weather in full force then. One thing to our advantage, we have splendid water and have had wherever we have been in Georgia. We have hot days and nights is cool enough so that a woolen blanket is comfortable over you.
I received your letter of the 28th of June yesterday with the two dollars and postage stamps in it and also the papers you sent — one Ledger/Tribune, a Newburgh Journal, and Whitehall paper. You take the Tribune so send that along as often as you can conveniently and a county paper whenever you can [get] one. The Ledger run out in ugust and I shall not send for it again unless you want to take it. The Colonel we have heard was dead but we don’t know for certain. I can think of no more at present. Write soon. So goodbye.
— H. P. Martin
Co. E, 123rd New York Vols.
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 20th Army Corps
via Chattanooga, Tennessee