The Smith brothers' collection is a slender, but significant one, documenting the combined Civil War service of two brothers from Marion, Mich. Seven letters are written by Gus, five by June, and one letter was written jointly. Gus' letters tend to be more descriptive, perhaps because he was an officer or because he was more enthusiastic about soldiering, or perhaps because June was so often plagued with ill health.
Their letters from the fall of 1862 through the summer of 1863, all written home to their family, depict their first year of service and provide useful descriptions of camp conditions, health, and morale in the regiment, and contain the expected inquiries about affairs at home. Because they are sporadic correspondents, a detailed sense of their family relations or military experiences does not clearly emerge, but individual letters rise well above the mundane. Perhaps the two most interesting are an undated letter from Gus, probably written in the fall, 1862, describing his tent and living conditions in Kentucky, and his letter from May, 1863, crowing over his promotion to captain. The collection also contains four receipt rolls, returns, and other documents signed by Gus for material issued to his company.