Courtland, Alabama

The next surviving letter from Harrison DeWaters was written over six weeks after the previous one in this collection. During that time, the 13th Michigan has advanced to the northeast corner of Alabama.

For the first time in the surviving letters, Harrison voices some dissatisfaction with the Union’s military strategy. He describes a skirmish or battle near Courtland, Alabama where a Confederate force overran the Union troops guarding the town. His description makes it sound as if irregular forces, which he calls citizens as opposed to soldiers, rather than an organized unit, carried out the attack. He feels the policy has been too lenient and that the citizens are as dangerous as regular soldiers.

Harrison concludes by reporting that their uncle Joseph is well as is another local man, Andrew Brodway [this may be an Oshtemo neighbor, Allen Broadway]. He also notes that five soldiers left camp with passes and did not return. He seems uncertain if they deserted or were taken prisoner by the Confederates.

July the
28 /62
Camp at Steveson
Alabama War Time

Dear Sister
                Your letter was received july 26 and was very glad to hear from you to hear that you was all well i am well at present and hope these few lines will find you the same our Company has bin left back at Decatur for 2 weeks   we returned the/26 to our regiment   we was left back to guard some hospital stors while we was thare   we serched some of the houses and found about 60 or 80 guns and a number of pistols   the day before they had a skermish at Cortlan   some of our men was left to guard it they took the place and some 80 prisoners and came very near taking the train of cars   they wonded us of our men and kiled one   they got a way on the cars and came to Decture  i saw them the next morning this happened the 24   it is still in there hands yet it stops the cars from runing from Decature to Corinth    they expect to be attacked at Decature they have 6 company of Infantry and one of cavelry   they have no very large forces here togather but they have some parties round in the  mountains enough to keep us here 3 years unless they change the policy of the war   they have bin to easy with the Rebels for they  think that the Sitazens [citizens] is as bad as the soldiers   they think it was the Sitazens that took Cortlan   our company is on pickets watching for them now   we have 3 or 4 men in a place   i have charge of on[e] squad i have 3 men with me rite in the woods whare we can see nobody   i dont think thare is any very clost here   if thare is let them com we hant afraid of them    it is very pleasant here and prety warm but i guess we can stand it    the boys feel pretty    well Unkle joseph is well and Andrey Brodway they was 5 boys that left the other day they got a pass and went and out and left   there names was George Hogg  Charles Streter  2 by the name of Story the other i don’t no his name   i think if i never get home till i runaway i shal stay here till the War is over with them boys the Rebels mite of took

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