William H. Smith papers 1861-1864
Collection Scope and Content Note
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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.