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133rd Ohio National Guard

Item LTR-5991
June 24, 1864 Lucius C. Smith
Price: $225.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 8 pages written in period ink.

Fort Powhatan, VA

June 24th 1864

Dear Father,

Yours of June 5th & 11-12 have arrived; 11 and 12 last night. I am well. John and Newton are middling well. Newton thinks that he is getting the mumps.

You what to know about the selling of my molasses. You say you can get 70 cents for five barrels or 75, if I say so. It seems to me they would make no such bargain as they might be sure I would say the highest price. I told you in several letters to do as you thought best in the molasses. But I am satisfied that it will be worth more then 70 cents or 75 either. But I think perhaps you had as well sell it as you say. But don’t go less than 70 cents and then three to five barrels in a lot. Try to get to keep the barrels when the molasses is used out. You had better keep one whole barrel. Keep the best barrel of syrup to sell at Homer and part of another or two barrels to ladle out. Just as you may judge best. I am sorry to know about losing my vinegar. But I suppose that is my luck too. I must submit if you had stopped the hole in the pan that goes into the log, it could not have got out. If it has pretty near all leaked out and get Uncle Abram to clean out the tank as it will only eat up the tank for nothing. You say that it run into the pan. Please see that it is immediately cleaned out as it will spoil the pan.

Eliza or Hanna wrote that Uncle Abram said that he did not agree to haul my wood. I wish you would get him or someone else to haul what is down, at least that old wood of last year and some new cut this spring near the creek. That at Monroe’s let go. I thought Abram was to work for me all I wanted him to. I hope he will remember his promise to me. Tell him I will help him sometime when in a tight place. Keep an account of his time and what you pay him.

You say you got my box of clothes. I suppose it is the one I sent from Newark. You ought to have said what it was from and what the Express charge was. I sent one box from Washington which I have written about several times. We feel anxious about those boxes as several boxes are in each one and they somewhat look for me to see the matter. Please exact pay of all who have clothes in the boxes before you let them go. You are aware before this time where we are and consequently you need not try to send us a box of provisions. We are living middling well but lived on hard bread for two weeks and got so tired of it, some could go no longer. Since we came here the men have improved a great deal. You have no idea how men can be used up by continued duty and poor water and poor living.

I have been remarkably well. I have taken great care of my diet and especially my drinking water. Took my own medicine; been my own doctor. The captain said yesterday, he believed I stood it better, or as well as any man in the company. For the first few weeks I suffered with cold in my lungs. But I have got over that and have had none since. I can lay out any place and not take cold. But I must not boast, as I may not do so well in the future. Some of our heartiest men seem clear gone out. But I presume they will recruit up.

You wanted me to tell you our situation which I have done and I presume you have got before this time. Consequently, I will not go over it again this time. I wrote several letters at Washington and one at Bermuda Hundred. We went from Newark to Washington; from there to Bermuda; from there to this place where we arrived last Saturday. We are doing picket duty and finishing the Fort here. Going out foraging is quite extensively done. Wednesday I got a pass and took ten men and went out some five miles. We got all we could carry of household stuff. I have no room to tell you all that we got. I got me a nice mahogany stand top to write on. I also got a quilt and pieces ready to quilt. It is plain though. If I can, I will bring it home. I got a nice round about summer coat for Billy. It belonged to some of the aristocracy. I think I shall go out again tomorrow. The lieutenant is going. We run some danger as the Rebels could slip in the county to give us sights but they have enough to do at Petersburg. General Grant has had that place invested for a week. There is hard fighting every few days. We can hear it very plain. Grant crossed troops at this place three days & nights besides other places on the river.

We got away just in time from Bermuda Hundred as the Rebels shelled the place the same day and night we left. They did not do so very much damage. I wrote to you about our Regt. getting into a fight one day. I think we were very fortunate in getting away from Bermuda to this place. There are only a few men here besides our men and our colonel is commander of the post. How long we will stay is very uncertain. We may stay our time we go to Petersburg or we may go back to Washington. I would rather go back to Washington as we could buy things there. Here you might as well be out in Africa as far as to getting necessaries is concerned as we have no sutler. Once in a while we can get paper from the boats which stop here.

June 25: I endeavored and finished my letter yesterday but could not get the chance. Newton has the mumps for sure. His face on one side is quiet swollen. Last night he was quite sick. Today he is around. He looks rather contrary awed for some time but I think is getting use to it by degrees.

It is extremely hot almost burns a fellow up unless you get where the breeze strikes you. Last night was the first night that was warm here, as to before it was very cool. No rain since we left Washington. Out on picket the mosquitos just go for a fellow.

Daniel wanted to know about getting my horse shod. Yes, if they are used and the load keeps rocky shod at least. Next letter you send me some shin plasters about a a dollar’s worth. Change cannot well be got here for $5.00 bill. Send each time you write some. Send an Advocate once in a while. Please same important papers as election is coming on for President and etc. please see to my cane mill, as I want it ready for work this fall. Tell Homer I want him to tell Tam Langman that I want him to help me this fall at making molasses. I want Horace and Eliza to look after my horses the best they can. I will try and recompensed them for it. If I ever get back, which I feel pretty confident I will. When at Bermuda I though our chances were pretty slim. But I think the authorities have had a hearing from some quarter lieutenant putt the New Jersey in the front. And I think unless misfortune attends our armies so as to make it a necessity, I think we will be kept for what we came for. For my part I have felt perfectly resigned. Let come what may. I have not been disappointed in the least as to the army. I had a better idea of it than I though I had. But no one can appreciate the hardships and sufferings of Grant’s army for the last two months. They have fought and marched and built fortifications almost day and night. Friday a wagon train came from the White House across hear and was attacked by a large rebel force. Some 25 to 30 thousand and was from 12 to 14 thousand trains would get safely through but loses were quite sever. Some say 12 hundreds. The trains are now crossing the river. Richmond may fall soon. But I fear not. We have to fight them in their fortifications. Consequently, must look a great many men unless it is done by some strategize movement.

Well I must close, I have written about sending medicine witch for I have probably done. Please send some postage stamps once in a while. Mother, I want you to give yourself no uneasiness concerning us as I think we will come out alright. Wishing you all well. I close.

Direct to L. C. Smith, Company B, 133 Ohio National Guard, Fort Powhatan, VA, vice Fortress Monroe. In care of Captain Toby Williams