Some incredible content from a Confederate soldier in the 39th Georgia Infantry near Vicksburg in March, 1863. At this time Grant was flailing as he attempted to get at Vicksburg. He conducted a series of attempts to circumvent the Mississippi or construct alternative water pathways so as to get at Vicksburg. When Grant finally makes it south of Vicksburg and moves in on the fortress city, one can’t help but think that the conditions Mr. Harris faced would only get worse.
It is with great pleasure that I attempt to communicate with you, through the medium of this sheet, if I am not permitted to go to see you under the Tyrannical Military law I can write and let you know how I am getting on, we are under hard task masking. Tyrants in every respect they won’t allow anyone to go home on furlough sick or well with but few exceptions some few are getting off, who can get a surgeon’s certificate that they won’t be able for duty I over 30 days. My health is tolerably good now not so good as it was in Tenn. before I left. The water don’t agree wit me here my diet has been so irregular is another thing. Sometimes I get one meal a day and sometimes none.
And some additional content:
I went out yesterday evening, our Regt. and brigade with three others to witness the execution of a soldier by shooting for desertion. It was one of the most horrible scenes I ever witnessed, they brought him out shrouded sitting on his coffin. The brigades were formed on three sides leaving a square in the center of about 100 yards. The prisoner was drove up in the center taken out of the wagon and tied to a post blindfolded with his back to the post and 12 soldiers with guns marched reprise 10 paces and commanded to fire 5 bullets struck him in the breast. There were two others, shot at other places in the divisions yesterday evening. They all belonged to the 1st Lee Regt. of Artillery. The charge was for deserting and Spiking the cannons last Apr. and going to the enemy and afterwards were taken prisoners and recognized by their own Regt. They had joined a Minnesota Regt. If we stay here I think it will be uncertain when I can go home.
For more here is the complete letter.