A good war-date Union soldier’s letter, 4pp. 8vo., written by Pvt. Harlan P. Martin, Co. E, 123rd New York Vols., Bridgeport, Ala., Nov. 21, 1863 to his mother:
Camp at Bridgeport, Alabama
Saturday, November 21st, 1863
The long looked for “Box” has come at last. It arrived here at its destination yesterday. “Thank the Lord” my boots and other things came all right. My boots fit me very well and I guess they may wear well but I would rather have given him another dollar and had him put good leather in the legs than the slimy stuff that will squish right down. Russell [?] has done his last work for me. How much did it cost for sending them? The vest suits me very well. How much did it cost? The gloves suit me. The suspenders were rather short but will do very well.
I wrote you a letter 8 or 10 days ago and sent 12 dollars in it. I was expecting that five dollars that I sent after and only kept two. I sent after $5 over a month ago but I suppose it is coming the route. ____ _____ mail comes around by Northern Ireland. It is curious but true as it is curious that I can get an answer from letters a great deal quicker when I don’t send after anything than when I do. But never mind.
I expect there will be a big fight come off up here at Chattanooga within two weeks. General Sherman’s men from the Army of the Mississippi have been arriving at this place and are going on to the front. They have most all crossed the river and gone up to the front. They have been three days crossing. They number somewhere about 10,000 men. I guess they will give Old Bragg some trouble when they get there.
The men are deserting from Bragg’s army very fast and it must have a very demoralizing effect on the rest of the army. Squads of deserters come in from the front under guard almost daily and very often some find their way into this place and give themselves up to the Provost Marshal without being arrested. I think this fight will tell the story if the rebels are defeated. Things look very encouraging.
I want you should send me a few more stamps and some 2 cent ones. I want you should get me another blank book and send as near like the last one as you can get. There is prospects of our still staying quite awhile. We have a great deal of duty to do, but like it better than to be at the front. The boys are all well. I am on guard and it is time I was going. Write soon. So goodnight.
— H. P. Martin
Co. E, 123rd New York Volunteers
1st Brigade, 1st Division, 12th Army Corps