Harrison Family Letters, 1854-1869
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Brief Description:

The Harrison Family Papers are comprised of 17 personal letters written primarily between Mr. J. S. Harrison and his wife, Julia E. Harrison during his enlistment. Letters from Julila and Mr. Harrison’s family are also included; a letter from Sallie (unknown relation) to a Mr. West; and one from Sallie writing to her husband.

Two letters predate the Civil War, one in which a sister to either Mr. or Mrs. Harrison writes of the family coming to see “the negro” which the Harrisons intend on selling and speaks a bit about Mary, her family’s slave, whom they will hire out for Christmas. A later letter from J.S. Harrison to wife Julia mentions two slaves, Sam and Henry, who had successfully run away.

Mr. Harrison’s correspondance with his wife dates back to September 13th, 1861 in which he explains he is stationed at a boarding house attending the sick. Subsequent letters speak of certain battles and run-ins with “Lincolnists.”  In some letters he sends his wife money in the amounts of $10 or $20, and in others he divulges his discontentment and boredom with the war and the Southern Confederacy, describing his surroundings as a bunch of “swamps and frog ponds” and often complains that there is nothing to do. He writes that his regiment travels 5 to 10 miles a day.

In his letters from 1863 to 1864 he declares the “war will end with Abe’s Presidential Career” and that their “cause is just and God will give us the victory” but then his attitude takes a shift mid-1864, writing how he is “tired of the cruel war….Yanks are determined to...destroy this country”. In the same letter he mentions how he is staying in a private house because of an injury he received. He tells his wife “You must not let your temper run too high with the Lincolnites as they have the advantage now”. His last letter concerning the War is dated July 22nd, 1864.

The locations of his letters are sent first from East Tennessee, and later from Kentucky (Mills Springs, Camp Waldy, Camp Milloparego), Alabama (Decater), and Mississippi (Corinth, Okolona).

The Collection also includes letters that post-date the Civil War (1869) from a Mrs. Sallie writing to her husband and to a Mr. R. B. West, in which she speaks of church, her family, and going on buggy rides.

Held at:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA 92182 8050
Phone: 619-594-6791
Email: askscua [at] mail.sdsu.edu
Created by: Harrison, J.S.
Volume: 0.2
Acquired: 9999-201
Arrangement: Chronological
Biographical Note for Harrison, J.S. : Mr. J. S. Harrison, from Liberty, Tennessee, fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War where he served as a surgeon and later a commissary.
Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.
Subject Index
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: These materials are in the public domain. However, the nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. Permissions is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish. Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.
Acquisition Notes: Purchased.
Related Materials:

United States Civil War Collection, 1811-1987

Asa Sackman Diaries, 1861-1862

PreferredCitation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Harrison Family Letters, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.