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Augusta County: Thomas M. Smiley to William Smiley, October 17, 1861

Discusses regiment's movement to Centerville to counter union troops movements toward Fairfax Court House.

William Smiley

Oct 17th 1861

Camp near Centervill

Dear Father

I will this evening endeavor to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope when these few lines reach you they may find you enjoying the same blessing. I would have written by Mr Beard but we were ordered off on picket so sudden that I could not do so We went on picket last thursday and got back on the next tuesday evening about sundown eat our suppers and was preparing for a good nights rest when orders came to strike our tents and prepare for a march no one knew where we got ready and started at three Oclock on wednesday morning and soon found ourselves in Centervill and pitching our tents I was then detailed on guard duty and was obliged to lose two nights sleep so that I think you must excuse my bad writing I would not have written now but there is some excitement in camp to night so that I thought I had better wright when I have a chance We do not expect to stay long at this camp

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it is reported that the enemy are advancing and that they are as far as Fairfax C.H. but I do not think that it is correct they have advanced a little I know but not so far the object of our falling back is to get a good place to attack them we have a very commanding position here and I think we can give them [deleted: Hail] Hail Collumbia if they do not come too soon. There is some talk of our brigade going to Winchester or at any rate some of the most influential citizens of the vally have petitioned that we may be sent there as there is a body of the enemy under the command of General Banks prowling about Harpers Ferry Martinsburg and the upper potomac generaly. I saw Andy Whipple to day he happened to pass our company and I recognized him he said he knew me the moment he saw me he made a narrow escape being taken prisoner by the yankees he had six balls fired at him and only at the distance of 30 yards a lieutenant was taken prisoner at the same time they had left their picket posts and gone a short distance for chestnuts when they were surprised by the enemy and taken I received the things you all sent safe except the tomattoes which were a little mashed the comfort is the very thing we need here but it is a little unhandy carrying about I suppose I need not write any more as Mr Beard can give you the particulars of how we live and get along

so nothing more at present but remain your affectionate son

T M. Smiley

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