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Augusta County: Mary A. Smiley to Thomas M. Smiley, July 23, 1861

Discusses mobilization of militias and volunteers, exemptions, skirmishes, and Manassas.

Thomas M. Smiley

July 23rd 1861

Dear Brother

We have received both letters that you have written since you were sick the first came the same day that John Beard started the other the day after [unclear: Steele] got home We were not expecting a letter not getting any with Steele who said he had advised you not to write & were sorry that you did write if you were not able for the task though before I did not think. but that you could write too when others in the hospital were writing. I suppose though that you must have been right bad from what you say. We are all well at present feel quite pert after the cold rain we had yesterday I hope it was not as cold down the vally as it was here I would be rather uncomfortable without fire Tell John Beard that he did not take all the rain away with him this time & that he must have left all the cold behind him. I believe that Bill Steele has a mind to fill the offer of 2 Lieutenant in your company provided he can get a higher office in the militia This anyway is the oppinion of some and it looks something like it. He got to Staunton Wednesday came home Thursday night & started back the next Morning for Winchester but was at church Sunday. I heard of his saying he had the offer of an office in the militia. I suppose if he can get one higher in the militia than that in your company he will take it if not he will have that to fall back on I dont know whether he has gone this week or not but if not I think it would be a pretty good plan not to let him have that chance & if he cant get suited here make him go as a private I think people here in the valley are mighty stuck up anyway, unlike the people further south they cant come down a peg if it can possibly be helped Nearly all of any pretentious [unclear: stall at least great] & you know there are a good many of that are ripping around to get an office. The militia have not gone from Staunton yet and do not know when they will indeed I believe it is sort of doubtful whether they will if they can get volunteers There is few if any that is volunteering of the Newport

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company. They would rather go in the militia if they have to go as they are only taken for six months whilst the volunteers are taken for the time the war lasts. A great many have gotten off the millers have been exempted & a good many that claim to be invalids & some others There are some half dozen or so of McNutts company home among others Jim Strain who has won for himself a great name, that is a great coward it is said it will not be good for him if he goes back I believe Capt Curry & some of his men are expected back shortly were made to take the oath & will be sent home there was some 12 of his men taken among them Julius Hamilton His father says J is smart enough for any thing but the yankees were to smart for him that time. Bob & Bil Stuart are said to be two of the bravest men out there & some of the Pingah set are said to have gained more honor that day than they ever did before in their lives. The wagons that started last have got back they were in Beverly time of the fight but all escaped, the ones that started the day before did not have as good luck I believe they are getting back with their horses but their wagons were taken. I think Scott ought to have his life taken for not taking part in that fight or giving those that were amunition when his men wanted to go on & help He must be as great a coward as Jim Strain who would not let that company know about it till it was too late. Report has good news for the South from the fight at Manassas Junction on last week Old Scott is reported to have said that he was never whipped, before, in his life We have heard nothing yet from the fight on Sunday it is supposed that it was at the Junction If your company was in Johnson's command that went to that place give us full particulars. As I have not seen what Tish has written you must excuse me if it is like hers. If your eyes still continue to be sore & hurts you to write you had better not write but can send word with others that are writing to the neighborhood. Give my best respects to [deleted: the company] my acquaintances & receive my love to yourself

From your sister

Mary A Smiley

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