1863 January 21: “Gen. Banks seems to suit the rebbels a great deal better than Gen. Butler”
Like Jerry Flint, Frank Harding was with the 4th Wisconsin Infantry, currently stationed in Louisiana. Unlike Jerry’s letter of a few days ago, which was full of news, Frank claims “there is no news to write you.” The original letter is in the Frank D. Harding Papers (River Falls Mss AB), University of Wisconsin-River Falls University Archives & Area Research Center.
Carrolton La Jan 21st 1863
Dear Father, I received your letter last night and was very glad to hear from you once more. I don’t know how long ago it was until I received your last one but it was a long time.
There is no news to write you. Every thing goes on in the old style. Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] gave the sworn enemy’s [sic] of the U.S. a chance to go over the lines to day. About 200 men — women — and children, availed themselves of the opportunity, but I think that they will wish themselves back again before the war is over. Gen. Banks seems to suit the rebbels [sic] a great deal better than Gen. Butlir [sic: Benjamin F. Butler]. I am affraid [sic] that he will not be severe enough with them, — but time will show. I am still in my old place, have good health, and weigh one hundred and seventy pounds, don’t you think that is doing pretty well. I haven’t had a chance to see that Chaplin man cince [sic] I wrote you but probably shall in a few days. I saw Jo Robbins.¹ He is looking first rate. He recognized me one day while I was riding through camp. I didn’t know him until he told me his name, then I could but just remember him.
There is a great many troops here and I am in hopes that we shall make some kind of a move towards taking Vicksburg. Gen. Banks has gone to Baton Rouge and left Gen. Sherman [Thomas W. Sherman] in command. For the past week I have been up the Coast hunting and have had fine sport. I would like to send you a pair of Brant² or ducks but “I suppose it wouldn’t pay.” [paragraph break added]
Tell Diantha that I will write to her during the week. I am very busy to to night and have but a few minutes of share time so you must excuse me for this time. Give my love to Mother and Diantha. Write me often and believe me
Your Dutiful Son
Frank D Harding
Please tell Miss Welch that I will endeavor to find out if there is any thing that belongs to Coxhull, and if there is, will send it to Brooklyn.
in hast [sic]
1. Probably Joseph K. Robbins. He was with the 26th Connecticut Infantry, which contained men from Frank’s home area in Connecticut. The 26th Connecticut was also at Camp Parapet at this time.
2. A type of goose. Sometimes spelled “Brent.”