This letter was written by Pvt. John A. Smith (1840-1863) of Company A, 67th Ohio Infantry. Company records indicate that John entered the service on 8 November 1861 for three years but went missing on 18 July 1863 in the assault on Fort Wagner, South Carolina. No further record has been found for him.
This regiment was organized in the state at large, from Oct., 1861, to Jan., 1862, to serve for three years, and left Columbus for the field, Jan. 19, 1862, going into western Virginia. It was the first to engage the enemy at Winchester on March 23, and lost in that action 15 killed and 32 wounded. At Harrison’s landing it campaigned with the Army of the Potomac till the evacuation of the Peninsula, when it went to Suffolk, Va., with only 300 men for duty out of the 850 which composed the regiment at the organization. Being then transferred to the Carolinas, for seven months it heroically endured all the hardships, privations, and dangers of the siege of Charleston, taking part in the attack on Fort Wagner and sustaining a heavy loss.
Addressed to Mr. Jacob Smith, Morenci P.O., Lenawee County, Michigan
67th Regt. Ohio Volunteers
October 28, 1862
I thought I would take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and hope that these few lines will find you the same. We have been out on a scout the other day. We just came back last night. I had all the apples and chickens and apple brandy and cider and sweet potatoes we wanted to eat. I tell you, we had a good time. Some of the 13th Indiana got drunk and one hit one of the regiment on the head and killed him and one of the 62d Ohio shot one of their captains.
We took four rebels. They had all double barrel shotguns. The artillery went and shelled the rebel town but the rebels never fired once at us. Jeff Davis gave an order that all the slaveholders should force all their negroes in the service. If that is the case, they are pretty near played out.
I never had any better times than I had on that scout, I tell you. Didn’t get drunk but I felt good. We have lots of fun here. I’d rather be here than at home, but still I would like to see you all and then I would like to be here again.
I wrote to Elisabeth and Mary the other day and today I thought I would write to you. We have got a good house built and a good fire place. We live right at home here. Our Company is full again. We have 101 men in it and [Lewis Cass] Hunt from Toledo is our Captain. I would like to know if father and mother had gone to Detroit or not. Write me all the news you can and as often as you can. I have wrote you all I know of for this time, so good bye from your brother, — J. A. Smith
Direct to John A. Smith, Co. A, 67th Regt. O. V., USA, Luray, VA., Gen. Shields’ Division
[P.S.] If you know where Jeff Crane is, tell me.