Saturday, January 19, 2013

1863 January 4 Camp Winder

Camp Winder, Jan 4th 1863
Dear Sister
                     I received your letter
yesterday dated the thirty first & now
hasten to answer it.  I am well
with the exception of a cold which
is nothing new.  There is no news
of importance except that there was
a slight stir in camp yesterday
in consequence of a rumored
advance of the enemy but it
appears to have subsided now
General Stuart has made another
dash around the enemy &
returned without the loss of
a man.  He captured five  hundred

[page 2]
prisoners, two hundred wagons, and
destroyed five days rations for the
Yankees.  Christmas & New Years day
passed off quietly with us. We
had a great variety on the table
for our christmas dinners the
breakfast consisted of beef steak
& bread, dinner was bread &
Roast Beef, & supper out of what
was left for at breakfast. To give
you an idea of what we have
to pay for little extras I will
mention the price of a few
articles - Apples are selling at from
$1.50 to two dollars a dozen, Ginger
Bread 3 cakes for a dollar.  Butter
two dollars a pound, sausage 1.50
per pound, dried apple pies that
are baked in camp bring 75 cts
and a dollar & every thing else
is in proportion.  There was
but few of the men that
could afford to get drunk this

[page 3]
Christmas as Whiskey is selling at
fifteen dollars a quart.  During the
last year we lost out of our
brigade 1220 men in killed & wounded
no mention being made of those
that died from disease.  the loss
in our regiment was 400 almost
one third of the whole amount
We marched over 1500 miles
encountering the snows & ice of Winter
in the mountains of Morgan and
hampshire. The miasma of summer
in the swamps of Henrico & Hanover
Our brigade numbers but 1200 muskets
at the beginning of the present
year.  If I can obtain a copy of
the order I will send it to you
which contains a history of the
past years campaign in few
words.  We are now fixed upp prety
well having a little tent fixed
uppp & a chimney in it in
which we do our cooking.

[page 4]
But I will now draw my
letter to a close by asking
you to excuse all mistakes &
write soon to your brother

Thomas M. Smiley, Co. D., 5th Virginia Infantry

MSS 1807-a

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