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Augusta County: Thomas M. Smiley to His Aunt, April 20, [1864]

Smiley describes life in winter camp and the build up of Lee's army.


April 20th

Camp Randolph

Dear Aunt

I will endeavor to write you a few lines once more to let you know how I am getting along. I am well at present and hope that this may find you in the enjoyment of good health. We are still in our winter [unclear: quarters with no immediate prospect] of a move, except on picket which will be next week. Our time at present is pretty well taken up with drills and police duty. We have two drills each day and dress parade in the evening

[page 2]

There is preaching nearly every day or night as it suits. The preaching is pretty well attended and pretty good attendance is had during the services. The weather for the past week has been very fine but it has gotten colder the last day or two and to day looks as if we [deleted: we] would have snow I do not think there will be much fruit this year especialy in the part of the country as it has been so cool that I think it would all be killed. Our sharp Shooters are now out practising firing at a target which reminds us very much of the commencement of a battle but it is to

[page 3]

be hoped that we are not to have many more battles to fight as from late northern news they are more unsettled now than they have been for some time past. General Grant seems to be making great preparation for an active campaign but some persons think it is only done for a show; while the real plan is to [illeg.] [illeg.] the first [illeg.] here, and I suppose it true that a good many troops are being sent here to [unclear: strengthen] Lee's army. if it is true I think it is the policy of our leaders to assume an offensive atitude.

[page 4]

But as we are to have a brigade drill this evening, and the hour is about come. I will close by asking you to excuse all mistakes, bad writing, &c.

Give my love to aunt Ann, Uncle Jame's family and any one else who may think worthwhile to ask for me,

& also receive a due share yourself from your affectionate nephew

Thomas M Smiley

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