Valley Personal Papers

Return to Browse | Return to Search

Bibliographic Information | Modern-Spelling Version

Franklin: John Smith to Grandmother, March 6 1863

Smith describes camp life and remarks upon the terrible winter weather. He goes on to complain about the war's length, angrily questioning the motives of "rebels" and complaining about Virginia's terrain. Smith concludes by recounting a recent skirmish with "rebel" forces. He goes out of his way to mention seeing a "dead rebel."

March 6th 1863

Camp of the 16th Pa Cavalry

Dear old Grandmother

I have [illeg.] seated myself to write you A few lines to let you no that I am well and hardy [illeg.] I hope you are all enjoying the same helth and happiness and further - I have been writeing to the other friends but I never wrote to you yet I allways neglected it and in fact I have hardly time to write we are on duty that I hardly get time to write we have verry hard times now the men and horses are dying the wether is verry unhelthy about 2 cleer days in A week

[page 2]
and we go on picket 4 days in A week. we got out 10 miles from camp and then we must lay out 3 nights in A week no matter how bad the wether and the wether is as cold here as it tis up there and more snow we have had A great deal of snow this winter so we are exsposed to great deal of cold wether and then thats not all we dont get our full rashens we suffer for the want of more to eat and we cant buye anything for we have no money we never got any pay yet scince we are out and [unclear: no] hopes of geting any yet

[page 3]
and further this war is A qear thing to me there is no hopes of it coming to an end yet evrything seams [unclear: to] wrong I still had some hopes of it coming to A close but I exspect to put in my 3 years now and I dont see what they are fighting for and another thing as long as our army stays in Virginia they will whip the rebels for A country like this for its nothing but woods hills and mountains this is an awful cuntry if I could get out of it I would stay another day if it rains A half a day the roads gets that mudy that we can

[page 4]
hardly get A long we [illeg.] out on A scout last week we was goin 2 days & A half and we [unclear: went] 30 miles from camp and the mud was up to the horses knees and we [illeg.] mud all over and it [illeg.] [illeg.] the time [unclear: wer ] out we wer after the rebels but we dit not get any they drove our pickets in took several prisners and killd several but the rebels lost more then we dit I seen one dead rebel he looked [unclear: hard] [illeg.]

from your friend

John Smith

Answer soon and direct
John Smith
[illeg.]16th Pa. Cav.

Return to Full Valley Archive