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Augusta County: Diary of Thomas M. Smiley (1862)

About Thomas M. Smiley:
In his diary for July 1862, Thomas M. Smiley describes the hardships of life in camp and on the march. In particular, Smiley records information on religious sentiment, troop morale, and army food.


Camp at darkesville


July 1862

Friday July 17

Nothing of interest has occured to day except a heavy rain which is not very agreeable to us being without tent

Saturday 18th

In camp all day with nothing to eat a great deal of dissatisfaction is being shown by the men on account of not getting enough to eat

Sunday 19th

Remained in camp all day preaching in the regiment by a Chaplain of another regiment got orders this evening to cook several days rations and move by five Oclock

Monday 20th

Started at five and marched below Martinsburg on the railroad where we camped. the third brigade having been sent out to tear up the railroad

Tuesday 21st

the whole division was taken out to day to work. tore up

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and burnt a good portion of the road got orders this evening to quit work and march back to darkesville

Wednesday 22nd

got to darksville last night after dark ordered to cook two days rations and march at daylight marched through Bunker Hill and camped near Winchester. after camping we found a large field of Blackberries where the whole division was bountifuly supplied with fresh fruit Received orders to cook another days rations and march at daylight

Thursday 23rd

Went through Winchester this morning turned off on the Front Royal road which place we reached at dark we crossed the Shenandoah on pontoon bridges

Friday 24th

Left at daylight and marched twelve miles on the road leading to Luray through a mountainous country camped at sundown and cooked two days rations

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Orders for revelie at three Oclock. The first brigade is begining to look very small owing to hard marching and not much to eat

Saturday 25th

started at daylight and marched to within three miles of Luray where we turned off the main road towards the mountain and camped making in all about seventy five miles traveled this week. The men are now all out washing thier clothes it being the first oportunity for six weeks

Sunday 26th

remained in camp all day. in the morning Lieut Wright and S. F. McCutchan went and gathered blackberries out of which we baked a large family pie for dinner in the evening there was inspection. The day was spent generaly by the men in washing their clothes and

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mending them. as they expected to march tomorrow they consider it a work of necessity preaching in camp to day at three different times. several united with the church and were baptized. There seems to be a great interest felt in the army now, on the subject of religion

Monday 27th

Left camp at five Oclock marched very slow until noon as the wagons had some difficulty in going up the mountain after getting up to the top we marched fast and camped at Sperryvill in a large orchard had another Blackberry pie for supper a great many of the boys made apple dumplings.

Tuesday 28th

Left camp at Sperryvill and took the culpeper road but soon turned off on the Madison Court House road and marched some ten or twelve miles and camped. a right heavy shower of rain this evening.

Wednesday 29th

Left camp this morning and marched about eight miles and camped the road traveled being the worst I ever saw in my life.

Thursday 30th

We have no move to day remained in camp. a great deal of grumbling among the men as they drew bran in place of flour; for bread. Had a smart shower of rain this evening. roads very mudy

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