Letters of  Private William Smith

William Smith, a farmer, age 21, was drafted in July 1863, enlisted at Hartsville, Steuben County, New York to serve three years, and mustered in as private, Co. K, 76th New York Volunteer Infantry, July 18, 1863; captured in actin, May 1864, at the Wilderness, Va.; died of disease, October 1, 1864, at Andersonville, Ga., a prisoner of war, from Scorbutus; grave # 10164.

Hannah Inders and William Smith, William's parents were married in Town of Beckles, Suffolk County, England in 1843 by pastor Dr. Owen. In 1863 the family lived on a 100 acre file with about 15 tillable acres. The following children were at home: Robert, born Dec 10, 1853; Linus, born 1850; Charles, born 1848 and William, born Sept 19, 1845. The family lived in the Town of Cnaisteo, Stueben County, New York

Elmira 24th (Probably July 1863)

Dear Father 

I have forward you a reciept of the money that I sent you to day so that you will have no trouble. For if the Company loses it you can recover the drawings the Colnel tells the Men that sent some money home That is all I have to say just now but as I write this letter word comes in that we will go off to morrow morning at 4 o'clock So good by all of you 

Wm Smith

I will write again pretty Soon for I think that we are not agoing into battle

March 3rd 1864

Dear Parents

Having happened a misfortune a few days ago has deprived me from writing before this time. I must tell you how it happened we had an old India Rubber blanket upon our chimny to keep our paster from soaking and it caused a fire and we was at our breakfast I heard a roaring noise I rushed out and it was all ablase I caught hold of the pole that held it up and the melted rubber stuck to my handsand So I did not feel any pain just then but after wards it commenced to pain I went over to the doctors and he dressed it with Olive Oil and honey 

I felt a good deal better afterwards but a couple of days after it was blistered in two or three places and they are sore yet but have been opened though I think that it will soon be well. I am also well otherwise than my hand an I hope fhis may find you all beter than I am. 

Last sunday Wm Tower, McGraw and I sent our money home Wm Tower sent $45 McGraw $10 and I $20 all in one Package McGraw wants you to give his 10 dollar to his father and Wm Tower to H Hamilton or leave it at N.C Taylors we thought that it would not cost much more and probably go safer than singularly we have mustered again this Tuesday for pay again though we cannot tell how soon we will get it yet 

The weather has been very fine for a day or so back though we have had a day or two muddy with rain and snow To day it is partly warm as warm as north is in summer. 

There has been some of the Army on the move towards the front it is the 6th Corps and the 3rd corps of which Charles Thorps and the rest of the boys are in I guess was on the move so it is pretty hard for them so soon I have to go in the fight we did not go this time but we was under marching orders. 

George Larson has started for home this morning he will be at home in a week from now for he is agoing to other place I sent with him Donats work and a couple of hard Tack to let you see what we have to eat and for Simon to eat at as he likes cakes I think they are just the Thing for him put a hole through one of them and hang it up for a picture I also sent some of the stuf with the book of which makes me to much to carry in my knapsack a change of clothing and the medicne will be aplenty to carry 

I think when he come up there an make him have something to eat do not let him go without giving him something to eat and drink, you wanted to know if I got what you sent me in Riche Box I recieved them all safe indeed. you also wnated to know if there was any chance of gettingout of the ranks well I dont know about that 

The Major came through our street the other day he asked me if my hand was very bad I told him it was not very bad he asked me if I would like to take care of horses I told him I would well says he my man is going home pretty soon and I should like to have you come and take care of them for me I told him that I would do all in my power to satisfy him well he said he would ask his man and see what he said about it 

The major is now gone home an I have not heard any thing about it since that is the only chance a man has of getting out of the

 ------ rest of letter is missing.------

These letters were transcribed by B. Conrad Bush, 1940 Reading Road, West Falls, NY, 14170; e-mail Bushresear@aol.com; from original letters found at the National Archive, Washington, DC.

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- Last Updated November 12, 2000