Valley Personal Papers

Return to Browse | Return to Search

Bibliographic Information | Modern-Spelling Version

Augusta County: Thomas M. Smiley to His Sister, December 26, 1861

Discusses marching and skirmishing around in the Martinsburg area. Complains about the lack of provisions during a march.


Dec 26th 1861

Camp Stephenson

Dear Sister

I will endeavor to write you a few lines this morning to let you know that I am well and hope you may be enjoying the same blessing when these few lines reach you. I hope you all enjoyed your Christmas as it was certainly a beautiful day here at any rate We got back to camp last Sunday evening after an absence of two weeks the greater part of the time being made up in marching night and day I wrote to you from Martinsburg telling you of our first trip to dam No. four in which we did not do much execution besides taking a few prisoners; on the next day after I wrote the brigade came on and we took up the line of march for dam Number five we staid there until saturday morning when we left for camp during our stay there we tore up the dam and stopped operations on the canal for the winter there was one man killed on our side a Mr Parks belonging to the Rockbridge rifles and one of the artilery was wounded I do not know how many of the enemy

[page 2]

were killed as the skirmishing was done altogether across the river but there was several of the enemy seen to fall and carried off by their friends it is strange there was not more of us killed than was as the bombs were bursting around us the whole time some of our company picked up peices of shell that fell close to them Our company or a part of it were at work in the dam one night the enemy did not see us going in the dam but after we had been in the dam an hour I went to the top to look around and in the moonlight they could see me when they opened fire upon us the first balls whistled over my head and after that I got out of the way when they opened a perfect shower of balls upon us but we were prety well protected and fortunately no one was hurt. Mr Andrew Lucas arrived here last sunday evening just about dark I received the things you sent me and it just come in time as we were about out of provisions we do not fare very well on a march as there is not time to cook our provisions. but in camp we fare very well

[page 3]

the roundabout you sent fits me very well and the socks I will keep although I do not need them just yet but I suppose I will need them after while I will send the box home by Mr Lucas we have got knapsacks and I will send my sachel with what things I have I sent the undershirt home again as I do not like to wear them here I have put my uniform coat in and some lead and other things sam Lucas has a pair of pants and a flannel shirt in and David Hanger put in a pair of old socks John Beard sent his old knapsack it is a black one and the other sachel is B.F. Hupps. I had some other things but when we moved every thing that could not be taken along was thrown away and destroyed the [unclear: Cad] is in a little poke it was picked up from off the field at Manassas. John Clemmer told me to write that he wanted enough of cloth like my roundabout to make him a coat and pair of pants he said he would give two dollars a yard or whatever you sold it at and pay the money as soon as he got the goods when you write let me know whether you have any of the cloth to spare or not.

[page 4]

But I must stop writing as I have taken up the most of my paper already

Give my love to all inquiring friends and relations and receive a large share yourself

T. M. Smiley

I send you a button taken off the coat of a dead United States soldier who fell on the battlefield of Bull run July 21st 1861

T. M Smiley

Return to Full Valley Archive