This letter was written by Isaac N. Harding (b. 1833), the son of Gideon Harding (1797-1868) and Sybil Mitchell (1800-1877) of Somerset county, Maine. According to Indiana enlistment records, Isaac signed on with Co. H, 40th Indiana Volunteers on 1 December 1861 though his letter suggests a few weeks earlier. He enlisted at Transitville (now Buck Creek) in Tippecanoe county, Indiana. He was promoted to corporal on 6 March 1862 and was discharged from the service on 12 August 1862.
Isaac wrote the letter to his younger brother, Josiah Francis Harding (1843-1873). Josiah was married in 1866 to Annie A. Watt (1848-1934). In 1862, Josiah was serving as the Third Assistant Postmaster General in Washington D. C. Josiah died of consumption at the age of 29.
Bowling Green, Kentucky
February 30, 1862
It’s with pen and ink that I can make use of to tell you now of my whereabouts. I have been in the service four months and have marched through the most of Kentucky. We are now at Bowling Green and on our way to Nashville, Tennessee. I have not been in a battle yet but expect to be in one soon. We have some fine times in the camp and some tough times on our marches but if we can achieve two or three more victories like that at Fort Donelson, then the war will be about over.
Josiah, I want you to write all the news there and tell me who all have gone to war in that part of the country—especially our friends or relatives. And tell me how the times are there. When the war is over—if I live through—I will come and see you. I have been clerking the most of the time since I have been in the service. I want you to write soon and let me know how you are getting along.
From your well wishing brother, — Isaac Harding
Direct your letter to Isaac Harding, 40th Reg. Indiana Vols., Co. H in care of Capt. [William H.] Bryon
I will try and write to you soon again. Yours ever, Isaac Harding
To Josiah Harding, Columbia Roads, Va.