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Manuscripts of the American Civil War
M. A. Harvey Letter

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: M. A. Harvey
Date: November 15, 1862
Place: Kingston, Tennessee
To: "My dear Eva"

Number: MSN/CW 5006-1-F1

Transcribed by: Sarah Szakaly and George Rugg, 2008

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
for more information on transcription conventions,
image scanning conventions, etc.)

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Kingston Tenn
Nov 15th 1862

My dear Eva

     I have just finished a letter to Mr Davis and one to Ma and have just one sheet of paper left which I must devote to my dear little Eva. But how shall I commence shall I begin at the beginning and tell you of all my adventures since the war began that would bore you I have no doubt So I will only give my expereience while in Kentucky. Just previous to our leaving Tennesee we were scouting near Nashville and succeeded in getting ourselves in several very neat little fights. In these we allways came out successful We can lick the world skirmishing. About the latter part of August our army commenced its march northward The Texas Rangers were put in the advance of course This is the post of honour as well as of danger when we are advancing on an enemy. In the present case it was indeed one of danger we had to fight the enemy every day. The first fight we had was near the state line here we ran into a Yankee Ambuscade and had a right sharp hand to hand fight we had to fall back though as the enemy outnumbered us two to one we made a good many go up before we did retreat though and took several prisoners I had quite a romantic adventure here. I noticed one of the smallest specimens of humanity I ever saw fighting in the Yankee ranks. The little nondescript was bolder than any of them and advanced so closer to our lines that I captured it and what do you suppose it was! Nothing in the world but a little fifteen year old girl dressed up in Yankee uniform she was right pretty and sharp as any full grown Yankee. [...] can assure you she was a curiosity We kept her two or three hours and then turned her loose. I wish we had a Barnum down south I would have sent her to him as a new

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specimen of the "genus homo.
      From here we went directly on towards Bowling Green. But saw nothing more of the Yankees although we were within hearing of their drums all the time. When within eight or ten miles of town we halted to feed our horses and rest ourselves. We had not been there more than an hour before we heard our pickets fire we mounted our horses immediately and went towards them before we got to them however I noticed a large dust to our right and very soon saw a large body of cavalry drawn up in line of battle We charged them immediately at full speed and they broke. They were some Georgia cavalry We did not find it out though until we were right on them I never heard such a yell in my life as they gave when they found out we were friends The Yankees had been chaseing them around all the morning. We drew up in line of battle and awaited the gentlemens pleasure but no Yankees came. We had no more fighting until we got to our old last winters battle field.—Woodsonville— Here we had a skirmish with the enemy loseing several men and killing some fifty Yankees. Our army captured five thousand prisoners at this place. We lay in ambush the next day and killed a great many of the enemy without the loss of a man. After this we had no more fighting until we got within twenty miles of Louisville From hear Col Evans took a spy company of forty men and went to Taylorville a little village near the city I volunteered to go with him as it was a beautiful opening for an adventure of some kind. We went within two miles of the place that night and encamped for the mo About sun up next morning we dashed into town and found about three hundred Yankee cavalry there. haveing the gayest time immaginable impressing all the property and arresting the southern citizens

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But oh me how Yankee chivalry has degenerated. They skedaddled as if a thousand comanches were after them Col Evans and myself were rideing twenty or thirty steps ahead of the command when we entered town and were right on them before we were aware of it They fired on us but did not touch a man we returned the fire immediately and they broke as hard as they could go towards Louisville I saw an account of the affair in the Louisville Journal next morning They said they were attacked by three thousand rebel cavalry and repulsed them with great slaughter. You can immagine the reception we had from the ladies. I never saw people so rejoiced in my life. Beautiful young ladies actually kissed some our great rough rangers. They wanted to kiss me but I was so modest you know I refused I fared sumptualy here for three or four days. Better than the ballance of the men as I was commisary Our camp was full of ladies all the time This very circumstance very nearly caused us to be surprised we The camp was crowded one evening as usual when the enemy dashed down on our pickets and drove them in We men in the saddle immediately. The ladies gave us a cheer as we charged by them. How could we help but win the fight and we did do it in gallant style We drove the Yankees—twice our own number—back to their infantry and artillery. That night we were ordered to join our command at Mount Washington and got there just in time get into a most glorious little fight in which we were repulsed not though until we made many a blue coat bite the dust I had the pleasure of opening that fight myself I went out reconnoitering before the battle opened I found the enemy sooner than I expected and was w[...]thin range of their guns before I knew it. Now I was in a nice scrape and hardly knew how to get out of it I concluded though I

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would give them one shot draw their fire and then get out of reach of their guns before they could load again. I took good aim and fired and then fell flat on the ground. They fired immediately but all the balls passed over me. My time from that immediate point was something bordering on the marvelous. On the next day they got in between us and our infantry In fact they had us surrounded by infantry artillery and cavalry. They were about four miles from us when we heard of them Col Wharton ordered us forward immediately in a gallope We very soon made the distance and found them sure enough Their cavalry, four regiments—about two thousand—drawn up in line of battle in an old field and immediately across the road. Their infantry and artillery was on the left. My company was in the advance we charged them immediately without [illeg] forming they let us get within ten steps of them and then turned loose a volley right in our faces this did not stop us a second we gave a yell you could hear for miles and run over and scattered them in every direction. This was the most complete victory I ever saw we killed forty or fifty of the enemy without the loss of a man. This was very strange considering we were fighting hand to hand. I captured a good horse and and enough blankets for Ans and myself all the winter. We went in directly then to Perryville where the big battle was fought I was in that but escaped without a scratch we charged two batteries. Col Evans the best friend I had in the regiment was shot here I brought him off the field. When our army commenced falling back from this place Gen Bragg gave me all the straggling cavalry and sent me a different route across the mountains. Before two days I had over a thousand men. But no one can immagine how much we suffered We had nothing to eat for three days but parched corn and persimmons. Besides this the Bush whackers would fire on us from every thicket killing the men and horses. I was rideing a very fine horse. They shot him the first fire. We caught some of them though and left them hanging on the side of the road. I am now staying at a Yankee Colonels house with a sick friend of mine. The lady is very kind to us she has not heard from her husband in a long time. Immagine me sitting in a handsome parlor dressed up in a Yankee captains uniform. And You can draw a very good picture of your very affectionate uncle &c

M A Harvey

Give my love to your Mother and the children. Tell Bud he must write to me write to me direct your letter
M A Harvey
Co B Ter[...] Texas Rangers

Transcription last modified: 01 Dec 2009 at 03:33 PM EST

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