More than a month after his previous letter, Harrison writes again to his sister Ann. The 13th Michigan has moved south to Georgia near [Lee and] Gordon’s Mills. This was but a short distance from Chattanooga, Tennessee. The 13th Michigan was one of the first Union regiments to move into that city when the Confederate Army retreated. Harrison expresses some surprise that the Confederates retreated as the city seemed like it was a good defensive stronghold.
Dewater writes that there seems to be heavy fighting ahead. The 13th Michigan is being held in reserve but he anticipates a big battle soon. His hunch was correct, for the Battle of Chickamauga was shaping up and the two armies would meet on September 18 – 20. That battle is considered a major Union defeat and the army had to withdraw from Georgia back to Chattanooga. The same defensive positions that had so impressed Harrison when the 13th had entered the city now served to keep the Confederates from retaking the city. Harrison’s hopes that they would break through and move on Atlanta and end the war were not to be realized.
Harrison has heard from home since he inquires about his mother’s health. It appears he doesn’t know the details and he asks twice for more information.
September 13th 1863
Camp of 13th Mich Infantry Co H near Gordons Mills Georgia
8 miles from Chattanooga & the enemy in front heavy Fireing in front this morning & expect a Battle soon our Division in [front] the Reserve hopeing to Capture the Hole of Brags Armey we take some Priseners every day took 40 this morning & some last night i suppose you have heard that the Enemy has left Chattanooga our brigade was the first thar that was in the City of Chattanooga what few was left was tickle they said that we was the first yankees that ever was in that plase one Brigade of our Division was left thare we lost one man Before they left out of our Division i begin to think that if they cant hold as strong a hold as chattanooga they never will stand aney place for the Rode that we went in on one Regiment could keep a hole Division from going in Chattinooga But as they left we was the nearest to the place we was in 9 miles from the place if he had not left as he had we would ben hemed in so he thought the yankes was to much for him we got one Prisener that said that they had gon to Atlanta Georgia & if we took Rome & Atlanta that the southern Confedracy would go up for they made all of their clothing & Guns Amunition So we no that the southern Confedracy must [group] wal sister Ann i thought i would scrible you afew lines to let you now how tip got along wal i am well & hope that when thez few lines finds you they may find you well i heard that Mother was sick if so write & let me no all about it & what is the matter & how all of the rest all got along So i must close give my respects to all tell them all to write so good By for this time this from your Brother to his Sister
tell me about Mother
so good By