This letter was written by Charles A. Smith (b. 1840) of Verona, Wisconsin. Charles was made the First Sergeant of Co. E, 8th Wisconsin Infantry, when he enlisted in August 1861. He was promoted to a 1st Lieutenant on 17 May 1865 but was never mustered at that rank despite the fact that he commanded the company at Nashville and Spanish Fort. He mustered out of the service on 5 September 1865.
In the 1860 US Census, Charles was enumerated as a single “day laborer” residing in the household of Rufus Atwood (b. 1823) in Verona, Wisconsin. Charles was identified as a New York native.
Sgt. Smith wrote the letter to Capt. James Harvey Greene (1833-1890) of Co. F, 8th Wisconsin Infantry who was at home on a furlough at the time. It was written on the day before the Battle of Nashville began.
December 14th 1864
With much pleasure I received by the hands of on of your “trusty boys” the sample of paper you sent me for which please receive my thanks. All our men are pleased with the form of the record it exhibits of their acts and wish me to procure a good supply of it for use. Accordingly I enclose the stated price $5.25 for one ream. I wish, Capt., you would procure and stamp for us a little better quality of paper—heavier would suit my men better, and if there is any additional cost, let me know when you send it, and I will remit the same to you at my earliest convenience.
Gen. Hood is trying to siege this place but I guess he finds it hard to make his “ends meet.” Nothing of importance going on. Capt. Smith, Capt. King, & Lieut. Helms are mustered out and gone home. Lieut. Jones has gone home on sick leave. We have but few officers left now. I am in command of Co. E now. The general health of the regiment is very good.
We are living at present in “Badger” holes on a side hill dug among the rocks without tents. We have pretty cold weather and some snow.
There is little use in conjecturing what will be our next movement. There is a little skirmishing along the lines every day.
I suppose you are enjoying the “sweets of domestic bliss,” relishing now and then a hearty laugh at our expense. All right, laugh on. You have the best wishes of many vets who have the privilege of your acquaintance. When you have leisure, Captain, please drop a line to
Yours respectfully, — Charles A. Smith, 1st Sgt. Co. E, 8th Wis. Vet. Vol. Inf.