Valley Personal Papers

Return to Browse | Return to Search

Bibliographic Information | Modern-Spelling Version

Augusta County: Mary A. Smiley to Thomas M. Smiley, July 13, 1861

Discusses war sentiments, remaining unionism, skirmish at Martinsburg, union advances at Winchester and Charleston. Concerned about his bout with the measles in camp.

Thomas M. Smiley

July 13th 1861

Dear Brother

I take my pen in hand this morning to write you a few lines haveing a good opportunity to send a letter. John Beard starts back to day he has been home better than two weeks I think he is anxious to get back to his company. We are all well at present but hear that you are sick, in the hospital with the measels. We heard that were sick from letters that were written to people out of the neighborhood. You I suppose meant it for the best not to let us know that you were sick, but I say never do that way again, truth is always better than uncertainty. It is two weeks yesterday since we heard from you I thought you might have written and the letter been miscaried but ma was getting very uneasy and I dont know what she would have done by this time had we not heard you were sick. But enough of the measles I hope you will get over them well and never take them again I reckon when Tish had them and they were expecting us to take them you never would have thought you would have had them where you are now. But such are the changes of life The next time you get sick I hope you will not try to keep it from us I suppose you were sick time you had that fight near Martinsburg & if you were like John Beard you would wish you had been there to give the enemy as many bullets as they would take, to operate well, But if you were in the hospital how did you escape being taken prisoner Sam Helms is in Middlebrook now he was taken prisoner & I have heard is home on parole of honor and is waiting an exchange of prisoners & that people about brook are somewhat suspicious of him. others say he was made to take the oath if it is the former way I think it is very strange, [deleted: that] It dont agree with the general character of the North in there treatment of their prisoners. I suppose you have heard of Bob McChesney's being killed whilst out scouting by an ambush of the Northern troops. His brother & Jack McBride started Tuesday for his body They are taking a

[page 2]

metallic coffin and intend bringing him home if they can get his body. but have returned without him fighting out there Bil Runnels was one of that scout also; but they all escaped with a loss however of their Lieutenant and several horses. I must tell you some thing now of this very efficient company the Newport militia or rather their Captain. Last Thursday was their muster day when the oath of allegiance was administered and taken by all except two Lacy & their Captain Johnny. He was then turned out of office and Capt Hite elected in his stead. Hutchens says he is too religious to fight he wont fight against his relations who are nearly all in the North. That if he went he wouldn't fire a ball at the Yankee's & that he didnt know whether he would take his company North or South. Dont you think he ought to have the words Traitor to his country, branded on his forehead, as heretick was branded on in ancient times. I believe I have written nearly all I think of I guess you will hear all the news from John Beard propably some that you also wont be very well pleased with as John was not. We have heard that the stage has stopped running between Winchester and Staunton if that is the case I dont know how John will get back I hope though he will not have to walk. We have also heard that Charlston is taken & that Winchester is surrounded by the Northern army. & again this morning that they have been driven back into Maryland which I hope is true. It is also reported that there has been a battle in Western Va & that our men have been driven back. Cannon reports are heard nearly every day by some person. The firm of Lincoln Seward & Co seem determined to prosecute the war from the Presidents message to Congress. The message says that a majority of the people in all the Seceded States are in favor of the Union. What a fool & I hope to his sorrow he may find it out. But I must close Write soon and let us know all the particulars down your way

From your affectionate sister

Mary A Smiley

Return to Full Valley Archive