Smith Family Letters


Letter from
Benjamin W. Smith
to Martha Jane "Mattie" Smith

October 31, 1862

Page 1 of 8

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[Emblem                       31
  with            Camp Jewett  Oct
  star and      Dear sister
  shield         I let you
 in this          know that I
  space]         am not verry
well at present.  I have
had the diarrhea for two
days past and last sunday
I took the Rheumatism
in the left shoulder and
have been nearly dead with
it ever since.  A soldiers life
will kill any body.  We are
[g]oing to have a grand review
[th]is afternoon  I shall not be
[a]ble to go out.  I expect th [page torn]
will leave here for


Page 2 of 8

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Bardstown a distance of about
forty five miles to guard a train
of wagons through. The 97
had to guard a train through
last wk week  they returned
after four days march.  I
think I will not be able to go
if we should have to go we have
no orders to that effect yet
though but that is the talk to
day.  Capt.Homan Came in
camp yesterday  he says that
he is going to have the best
drilled company in the regim
ent and I hope he will
have to.  When we are sick
we have to get the doctor
to excuse us from drill


Page 3 of 8

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  or any kind of duty  I got
an excuse this morning and
yesterday  morning  I was
detailed for guard last wed
nesday morning  I had the
rheumatism verry bad
and Wing McCormack
got me to go to the doctor
and get excused from
guard duty that night.  
Wing is a good boy all the
company likes him.  I have
just come off of drill review
they made me go  it was
hard to bear.  We were
mustered for a payment  
we will get two months
pay in a few days.

Page 4 of 8

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  Gen.Moore examined our
guns and knapsacks.  Our
Colonel Fowler
was present.  He is our
Colonel  I think he is
the a nice man  he dont
have any starch in his
shirt like some of the
officers.  he wore a
chec cotton checked
shirt to day on review
he wears an old black
loppy hat Capt. Homan
has enough of starch
for him and the Col. 
To day was the first time
that I ever got mad h at

Page 5 of 8

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 [Emblem]    My arm was so
    in         ]    sore that I could
    this      ]    not hardly move
    space   ]    it  he made me
                ]    get up and
?.  Wing tried
to get me to go to the doctor
and get excused  I told
him I would go or die
a trying.  Capt. knew that
I had the Rheumatism
as well as I did he could
have excused me as easy as
not but he did Say some
played off sicker than
I did.  I never make it
any worse than it really


Page 6 of 8

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I have just been to the
commissary and drawn
a new pair of shoes.
I want to save my boots
till a muddier time. 
Their is no mud in
old Ky but lots of
dust  it snowed fast
saturday two inches
deep  I was on guard then
and I have had the
Rheumatism ever since
and I think tolerable
bad if I know what
bad is  We are about
ready for supper
Price is cook


Page 7 of 8

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I said that I would
not write to you
untill you rote to me. 
I have written four
letters since I have
been here and received
no answer  I think it
is time that you was
writing to me  I donít
allow to write home
till some of you write
to me.  Others can get letters 
I dont see the reason why
I cant   I think I can
if they are written and
[page torn] iled.  Some of the boys
[page torn] tured a little negro


Page 8 of 8

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about eight years of age  
they are going to keep
him for cook  he is a
slave.  he says his Master
is a secesh.  he is a smart
darkie   the secesh are plen
ty only here  we steel any
thin we please from
them.  The measles are
in our company and
the mumps are in the
camp  the small pox in
town  I send this card
for Brint  tell him
to write to me   you
to   it is dark   I canít
see the linesÖ(signed)   B.W. Sm [page torn]
direct to Co. H 99 in care [page torn]



  *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.