Smith Family Letters


Letter from
Benjamin W. Smith
to John W. Smith

November 20, 1862

Page 1 of 4

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         Memphis Tenn       Nov. 20th, 1862

 Father, Dear Sir
                           I have just
received Matties letter dated
Nov 8  I dont want you to be
afraid that I will starve  dont
fret   I never starved   they cant
starve me unless they keep me on
a boat.  we suffered when we
were on the boat.   Their I
could not steel but here
I can and here I will.
   we drew six days rations yesterday. 
it will last us 3 or 4 days  we will
steal the rest.  I dont want
any thing from home that I
know of now.  This is a warm
country this morning pinches  us
a little we have no need no
overcoats down here  I believe this
is a healthy place although


Page 2 of 4

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  some of our boys are in the hos
pitle.  I believe Bill Shelby has
the consumption  others their is
nothing the matter with to my
opinion I donít complain unless
their is something the matter with
me. They all want to go to the
hospitle   I write twice or more
a week and I have not got
but two letters yet.  I have
written to several others about
home and have not got an answ
er.  We were on review yesterday  
we were reviewed by Reglar general
Sherman and staff.  You ought
to have seen the stiff shirt colors
then.  If the officers were put in
front of a big battle and all
killed this war would cease  
the officers are all that keeps
this war ago  I would like to keep
                    them up awhile      

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  The news comes in the papers here
yesterday morning that Brag was
going to attack us.  But that is
all a hoax.  I have just been
eating my diner.  I had pork beans
Coffee crackers and worms.  I
broken a open a cracke and
rolled a big worm.   I heard the
boys say they had seen worms good
while ago but that was the
first one I saw  I never looked
for them.  I expect I have
eat a thousand of them   it is
know use to grumble.  the
more we grumble the more
worms we find   Tell Charley
that I am all right with the
worms and with every thing else
some of our boys have got
body lice  I have not got
them yet. 

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  There are thousands of contra
bands here they have driven
the white citizens out
of their houses and taken
possession themselves. They
are big houses and each
house full some have
fifty negroes in them. 
They are supported by uncle
sam.  The negro men work
on the breast works arou
nd Memphis.  Their is a
talk of us going to
holly springs.   that is in
Mississippi.  I believe abou
t ten miles from the
line.  I must close my

 (signed) B.W. Smith


  *Note to researcher:  This letter has been transcribed by Archives staff verbatim
as the words appear on the original written page.  The spacing, punctuation, and
capitalization are identical.  Words that are unclear have been enclosed in brackets.