Thursday, October 6, 2011

October 1, 1861: Letter from Aaron Watson Smith, 7th NJ Infantry

On October 1, 1861, Aaron Watson Smith, of Belvidere, wrote to his brother John from Camp Casey.  Private Smith was a member of Company E, 7th NJ Volunteer Infantry Regiment.  Smith and many other Belvidere area menhad joined Company E of the NJ 7th in August, during the call for three-year volunteers.  In 1861, Smith's brother, Joseph C. Smith, had enlisted in The Anderson Zouaves (62nd NY Volunteer Infantry Regiment), the infamous "Zou-Zous."  Joseph would die in a Washington, DC hospital at age 25 on February 16, 1863 from wounds received during the 2nd Battle of Fredericksburg, VA.  The letter follows as Smith had written it, including the misspellings.  The letter was saved by Fannie Smith, of Belvidere, and now remains in the family with Judy (Johlman) Cheatham, of Belvidere.

Smith wrote, "Dearest Brother, I received your kind and welcome letter to day and was very happy to hear from you But very soorey to hear that you have met with sutch & soriful accident. But I hope it will not turn out to be so bad as what I think it is.  Dearest Brother keep in good hart And as long as I live I will do All that's in my position to help you.  Any thing that I have got home take it and converte it to your own use I give it to you freely.  When I return I think I can do a good deal Better for you.  I was telling Joseph who I left take care of his things And he was very well pleased you take his Clothes and if there is any you want to use, use them in Welcome that is what your Brother Joseph told me to tell you.  John I was very soory to hear that mothers Arm is so Lame it appears to me that all the bad luck must happen after I leave.  If I had been with you that accident never whould happened to you. But it is so and can't be helpt maybey it has All bin for the Best that I an hear.  I forgit weather I told you in my other letter that Joseph's Regiment had left hear one last Thursday to join the Army Along the Potomac. He told me he whould right and tell me ware he was But I have not receaved Any word from him yet.  Although I can see thiose Baggage wagons pass hear Everyday. Every thjing is quiet around hear at present.  little Jersey is All right. The Jersey Troops took possession of Munson Hill one Saturday. it was the hid quarters [headquarters] of the Rebels But now the stars and stripes are planted On the Rebels ground to wave in triumph Again over the oust land of the free and home of the Brave. today We can hear canonading over in Virginia. I don't think we will ever be cauld in to Battle. if I can keep my health and don't git sick I will be all Right. I suppose you hear more about the war in Belvidere that We do hear. don't Believe All the news you see in the daley papers.

Tell Jacob Smith to send me a Bottle of Good Gin as he promist.  he told me the night I was in town that he whould send me anything I rote fur.  now tell him I will take a small Bottle of Gin don't send a very Big Bon of you please.  I now must begin to draw my short letter to a close. I have bin sick since I have bin hear but not to goe in the hospital But I am a Good deal Better so that I am around and got a good Apitite and plenty to Eat. I noe feal Good.  John as soon as I Receave my money I am going to send it home in your care till I return then you shall Receave your REward from me.  tell mother I hope she will Be better.  Until I hear from Sally...[the ink was too faded to read].  tell Georgey and Sally that I am coming home to see them. Direct your lwetters the same as you did. I Remane your Affectionate Brother Aaron W. Smith."

Smith wrote a postscript, "right soon. I like to hear from home. Tell Call that I am very glad to hear that she is taking care of mother while she is sick.  Tell her I will send her a nice Present as soon as I receave my money if she stays home. John, I can't git any stamps hear..."

Copyright 1999-2011: Jay C. Richards

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