Sutton I. Harris Civil War Letter
7th Virginia Cavalry
September 12, 1861
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Sutton I. Harris was born circa 1844 in Shenandoah County, Virginia. Prior to the Civil War, he was employed as a tinner. He was described as being of fair complexion, with blue eyes and fair hair, and was 5 feet 9 inches tall. Based upon the events described, it appears that this letter was written in September 1861 while Sutton was serving in one of the companies of the 7th Virginia Cavalry. Although his name does not appear in published rosters of the 7th Virginia, many companies in this unit later became part of the 12th Virginia Cavalry, and Harris's official military record indicates that he enlisted in the 12th Virginia at Mt. Jackson on February 26, 1862. Sutton was about 17 years old when he wrote this letter to his fiancée, Lizzie. We do not know if they married before Harris was killed in action at Ream's Station on August 25, 1864.
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Duffield's Station. Sep 12
My Dearest Lizzy-
After a march of 10 miles last night we have some time to our selves. We do not drill this morning. The Federal troops are all around us. They fired into Sheperdstown last night and we was going over thare but Col. Ashby seen them off before we got thare. We started at 12 oclock and came back at day light. Oh I do hate it down here. We sleep in a old Barn and that is full of cracks. I liked to froze night before last and I did not sleep over half an hour last night. We have plenty of sour bread. It is enough to make any one sick. Coffee with out sugar. We are out of coffee and we drink rye coffee now. I hope we will soon be home. I want to see you very bad Lizzy. I hope in some day we will never part. I gave my likeness to John Bowen. He said he would see you on Sunday. I do wish that I had yours. Lizzy I love you and you are my hearts first desire for your love. I never shall forget the [parting] kiss you gave me that night at your house. You must not think hard of me for talking in that way but I love and I cannot help from telling you and you must write me. I am very loansome hear. I am coming up as soon as I can get furlow. Write soon. Direct your letter to Duffle's Depot, Jefferson County, Va. Do not forget to write yours forever
Sutton I. Harris.