410. George M. Harrison to William H. Herndon.

Richland — Dec'r 20th 1866

Dear sir,

you will please excuse my long delay, when you are aware of the fact, that four months past, my family has been, and is yet much afflicted of that slow fever — the typhoid. Eleven of us, out of a family of Twelve, have been, and some are now sick: but all — without any mortality — are likely to fully recover. I desire sir that you make use of any facts that my letters contain, if any suit your purpose, in your


own language; but not in the incoherent manner that you get them from me. Being so short a time in the army, about two months, — I am not able to give many interesting particulars.

I became a member of the Independant Spy Company when it was reorganized at fort Wilbourn, a few miles below Ottawa. Previous to this time, this company was commanded by Elijah Iles of Springfield, Ills after this time, it was commanded by Jacob M. Early of Springfield, Ills. Many of the officers & privates of our company were from Sangamon, i.e. A. Lincoln, J. M. Early, John T. Stewart, J. F. Reed, L. D. Matheny, Hugh Mc Gary, & others.

When the army lay at Fort Wilbourn, as then called, near La Salle, its supplies came by steam boats; also by boats when at Dixon on Rock river, at the two points much of the time was passed by the whole army, or by one or more of the four brigades, especially by Gen. Atkinson and the Regulars, with whom we generally camped, in company with 95 Potawatomis a few Winnebagos & Menominees which indians usually accompanied our company, both in camp and on the move. Our supplies were carried by horse teams usually, by pack horses occasionally, when not at or very near navigable streams; and when our company was sent on express our supplies and some of the baggag was carried by a beautiful mare mule called Jim Crow —

Being midsummer, our Idle days were mostly spent under the forest trees in the sitting or horizontal posture. We had some plays & some songs; but not being apt to participate I shall have to refer to Hugh Mc. Gary and others for a statement of these. About the tenth of may, I think, Joined Doct. Early's company; and the whole company was disbanded at White Water in Wisconsin about the tenth or middle of July, and nearly all of the company then returned home. Mr. Lincoln & myself came afoot from Havanna on the Ills river to Petersburg on the Sangamon, we crossed the Sangamon river at Miller's Ferry; several miles northwest from Petersburg.

Yours truly
Geo. M. Harrison

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2905



1. Gen. Henry Atkinson, commander of Regular army troops in the Black Hawk War.