back to home
(pioneer icon)1924

Cordelia Harvey

Soldiers' Home     
Vicksburg, Miss., March 10th, 1864
Gov. J. T. Lewis
Dear Sir:

Since the return of the Expedition I have been very busy distributing Sanitary Goods to our regiments. The "Commissions" had just rec'd a large quantity of vegetables which our "Hardtack", bacon fed, half starved soldiers were very glad to get.

hardtack, sugar & coffee

Yesterday I visited the Camp of the 25th, about two miles from town & that over Vicksburg hills with six bbls. of potatoes & a heavy ambulance is not easy for the horses. Those of the reg. that were well were in good spirits but it was enough to break one's heart to see the sick & worn out, by the late march. Poor fellows, they lay in the dust, dirty, ragged & no appetite & if they had, nothing to eat but hard-tack & bacon, which lay piled up in one corner of the tent in the dirt.

I asked them if they did not think they would feel better if they had some clean clothes. They replied with tearful eyes, "Oh yes Mrs Harvey! but we can draw none until we get to Memphis. " I inquired if there was anything they could eat? - & one young boy said - "If I could have some green stewed apples they would taste good." - I said baked apples? No! no. stewed apples, he replied with a look & a sigh that said more plainly than words could - I know I cannot have it.

I hastened home - got old quilts & comforters, towels, P. H. Chiefs shirts, drawers & socks. Pillows with nice clean cases, some good dried beef - sweet bread & butter and two quarts of "stewed apples", done just right - just as Mrs Dean used to give us at her table, Catawba bitters & Blackberry Syrup. I took these & hurried back. They were not expecting me, I was just in time for supper. I took the blankets out of their tents & gave them a good shaking, put down the rubber ones first on the ground then the bedquilts & pillows. Had them wash their face and hands, but I had forgotten to bring a wash basin, so they had to pour water on their towels from their canteens & used the towels. Then while they were changing their clothes, I got some dishes from the surgeons & divided up the apples - cut the beef, the bread & butter was all prepared. You should have seen them eat it. "This tastes good", "Oh how good this is" "I can eat this" were expressions heard from one & another. I only wish that those that sent all these good things could have seen & heard what I did that night. I tell you Gov. tears would come in spite of every effort, as I went from tent to tent - tears of gratitude that I was permitted to be the almoner of Northern bounty.

12th Wisc reunion

I would not exchange the memory of their grateful faces, & their heartfelt "God bless you's" for any thing in this world. Tell our people the good they have done, but also tell them not to "weary in well doing". I could fill volumes like this foregoing but I have no time to write it - nor you to read it.

Believe that I am doing all that I can do.

The 8th, 12th & 33d have gone up Red river with thirty days rations to return by an especial order of Gen'l Sherman within that time & go to central Tenn., to Athens I think where the 32d have gone & the 25th are soon going. Enclosed find the weekly hospital report.

I have had no time to visit hospitals the last week.

The weather is delightful. Our sick must improve here for a month yet & then I do hope they will be sent North.

Yours, Respectfully
     C. A. P. Harvey
          State Agt.