1864: Warren Cunningham Harris to Robert C. Harris

This letter was written by Warren Cunningham Harris (1836-1907), a private in Co. A, 11th North Carolina Infantry. Warren enlisted in May 1862 and remained with the regiment until he was captured on 2 April 1865 at Petersburg. He was released from prison at Fort Delaware on 19 June 1865.

Warren was from W. Charlotte, Mecklenburg county, North Carolina. His parents were Robert Cochran Harris (1804-1879) and Mary Orr Alexander (1805-18xx). According to family tradition, Warren and his best friend, Newton Query served together in the 11th North Carolina. They were taken prisoner together and once released, walked back home all the way from Delaware.  Newton Query arrived home a very sick man and died soon thereafter.  Warren married his widow, Annie (Alexander) Query (1845-1906).

TRANSCRIPTION

Father,

Furloughs is stopped so I will not get home at all—only one man to a hundred men for duty. The order was read on parade yesterday.

Affects of war will see the Besom of destruction sweep over our country. Helpless women and children will have to suffer. Some will say because I have no negroes they will not hurt me but all will fare the same fate.

Father, there is no troops here to spare in my opinion so you old men & little boys will have a chance to show your grit for if somebody don’t go to the assistance of Gen. B[eauregard], Sherman will march through till he meets Grant & then the thing is played out. Just to be plain, I sincerely believe every man’s life lost in the war hereafter is lost in vain for as Sherman comes, he will gather an army of negroes & also subsist his army on the small moiety that left for us.

Father, as I am wearing your patience with something not interesting, I shall drop the subject of war as it has become an old take at home. So if you want to come out to see me, you can come or if you think it best to stay at home, use your judgement, so fare you well.

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Lt. William B. Taylor, Co. A, 11th North Carolina Infantry

Father, I have not received a letter from you since George Caldwell came from home. I thought I would write you a few for it is 18 days since I last got a letter from you. I know time is precious but I think you have not got so many correspondents in the army. Father, the boys are all well. N[athaniel] O. H[arris] & C[harles] C. H[arris] sends their love to you. I heard on yesterday that T[homas] N. Johnson was at home. If he is, tell him to write & give him my love. Also receive a double portion to yourself. I remain your son till death.

Father, that knife that told you I sent with Lt. W[illiam] B. Taylor was not sent. I was on picket & [    ] forgot to send it & I sent a bundle with Peyton Roberts & the knife also, a few cartridges, & blanket composes that bundle. C[harles] C. Harris has a shawl in the poke. Let me know if you get the knife & bundle & also a bundle I sent from Davy Henderson. It is at J. W. Harris. Write soon to your affectionate son, — W. C. Harris

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3 thoughts on “1864: Warren Cunningham Harris to Robert C. Harris”

  1. Griff: What is the copyright status of this letter. I’m in the process of writing a book on the battle of Sutherland Station and I was wondering if I might cite or quote from this letter.

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    1. Michael, that letter was sold on e-Bay some time ago but at the time I transcribed & published it on Spared & Shared, it was owned by a friend of mine who authorized me to do so. The contents of this letter (or any other letter) may be cited in books by simply referencing the name of the website and the date of the letter’s publication on the site. In this case it would be “Letter, 1864: Warren Cunningham Harris to Robert C. Harris (undated), Spared & Shared 16, posted 25 February 2018.” As the contents of websites are subject to change, I see some authors even indicate the date it was observed on the website. — Griff

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