Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
William H. Smith Papers, 1861-1864

James S. Schoff Civil War Collection

Finding aid created by
Rob S. Cox, May 1994

Summary Information
Title: William H. Smith papers
Creator: Smith family
Inclusive dates: 1861-1864
Extent: 9 items
Abstract:
This Civil War collection contains 5 letters of William Smith to his family, three of which were written during the summer of 1861 when he was considering enlisting. In August 1861, he enlisted in the 26th Indiana Infantry. Two letters from his aunt, Jane Sterling, discussed her fears for her sons and William and described a vivid dream about the bleeding bodies of the boys. Both of her sons subsequently died in the service. There are two other letters in the collection, one from a relative, Nelson H. Smith, and the other, from a person named Dutton, of uncertain relationship to the collection.

Language: The material is in English.
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu


Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991. M-2662a17.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open to research.

Copyright:

Copyright status is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

William H. Smith papers, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Biography

Smith, William H.

Rank : Private

Regiment : 26th Indiana Infantry Regiment (1861-1866)

Service : 1861 August-?

William H. Smith enlisted in the 26th Indiana Infantry in August, 1861, a regiment that served exclusively in the western theatre. Smith, a brickyard worker, may have enlisted in the Army to escape hard economic times as much as to fulfill his patriotic fervor. After mustering into the U.S. service at Indianapolis on August 31st, the regiment was sent to St. Louis and then into the interior of Missouri. Under John C. Fremont, they participated in the campaign on Springfield, Mo., and were then assigned to guard the Pacific Railroad line at Sedalia, Mo., until July, 1862, when they began in a long and frustrating pursuit of John Marmaduke's Confederates. The regiment engaged the enemy at Newtonia, Mo., in September, 1862, at the Battle of Prairie Grove (where they suffered substantial losses), and at Van Buren, Ark., on December 28th.

After Prairie Grove, the 26th Indiana remained on guard duty in Missouri until the following June, when they were sent to Vicksburg during the final days of the siege, and then to Port Hudson and Carrolton, La. By October, 1863, they were again on the move, being assigned to post duty at Brownsville, Tex. Upon their reenlistment in February, 1864, the regiment returned to Lousiana, where they remained until joining in the Mobile Campaign in March and April, 1865.


Collection Scope and Content Note

The Smith papers contain 5 letters of William Smith to his family, three of which were written during the summer of 1861 when he was considering enlisting. Two letters from his aunt, Jane Sterling, discussed her fears for her sons and William and described a vivid dream about the bleeding bodies of the boys. Both of her sons subsequently died in the service. Sterling's husband enlisted in the 56th Indiana Infantry, which was intended as a "railroad regiment", to consist of railroad workers who were to be assigned to duty tending tracks and trains. There are two other letters in the collection, one from a relative, Nelson H. Smith, and the other, from a person named Dutton, of uncertain relationship to the collection.

Subject Terms

    Subjects:
    • United States. Army. Indiana Infantry Regiment, 26th (1861-1866)
    • United States. Army--Recruiting, enlistment, etc.
    • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Indiana--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • Death in dreams.
    Contributors:
    • Smith, Nelson H.
    • Smith, William H.
    • Sterling, Jane.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Box   42 Schoff Civil War Soldiers' Letters  
    William H. Smith papers,  1861 May 06-1864 December 07 [series]:
    Additional Descriptive Data
    Partial Subject Index
    Confederate States of America. Army--Supplies and stores.
    • [n.d.]
    Copperhead (Nickname)--Indiana.
    • 1861 May 20
    Dreams.
    • 1861 September 25
    Guerrillas--Missouri.
    • 1861 September 25
    Indiana. Militia.
    • 1861 May 20
    Indiana--Economic conditions--Civil War, 1861-1865.
    • 1861 July 15
    Mothers and sons.
    • 1861 September 25
    Newspapers.
    • 1861 July 15
    Patriotism.
    • 1861 May 20
    Picket duty.
    • 1864 December 7
    Scott, Winfield, 1786-1866.
    • 1861 July 31
    Thanksgiving Day.
    • 1864 December 7
    Tobacco.
    • 1861 May 6
    United States. Army--Enlistment.
    • 1861 May 6
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Casualties (Statistics, etc.)
    • [n.d.]
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Health aspects.
    • [n.d.]
    United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Participation, African American.
    • 1864 December 7