Harrison’s letter of July 17 sends bad news home to his family. His Uncle Joseph, whom he has not mentioned in recent letters, is doing very poorly. Harrison describes this as Joseph’s “old complaint” without providing details. We know that Joseph Dewater had been wounded 18 months earlier at the Battle of Stones River and recovered slowly. Further, he must have recovered sufficiently that he could re-enlist in early 1864 with the rest of the 13th Michigan. So it’s unclear whether or not his current hospitalization is related to that wound or not. Joseph Water died on July 21, 1864 at the age of 37.
Although all of the letters have illegible words, the ink in this letter has faded away almost completely in places, making it impossible to fully grasp Harrison’s message when he starts to talk about the box and the boots he has received from home. We do know that he asks for more stamps so he can continue to write.
July 17th /64
Camp 13th Mich
Miss Ann Dewaters your letter was Greeted & was very happy to hear from you it found me well & enjoying my Self as well as I Could under the present Circumstances the Boy ar all well except Uncle Joseph he is pretty Sick with his old Complaint he has ben Sick 4 or 5 days he went to the Hospital the 15th I Saw him the 16th & Shal go & See him to day he is in the Brigade Hospital Whare we can see him every day We Will do the best we can for him that Box that you sent we got the 13th & them boots they was all silk the things come very exceptible the things was all silk Silk up Ann when you write to Uncle Orvill I wish you would tell him much oblige for writing to me So often you must not think any thing for my writing is Crossed hand as I cant see Small letters this morning for I have a new pare of Boots & plenty to Eat & Drink when I get down with your Common Clase I will write you a letter & besides that I have a Watch Worth $50 Dollars that is What is the matter & you spoke About Some Stamps tell Father I want him to Send me some Stamps most ever Other letter for I am out most ½ of the time 50 cents Worth a time Ann I will writ one of these days & tell how we feel & So I must Close hope soon to hear from this my respects to all
So good By
yours with with