A Guide to the Merritt Hager Smith Diary, 1863 Smith, Merritt Hager Ms2008-037

A Guide to the Merritt Hager Smith Diary, 1863

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms2008-037


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Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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© 2008 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms2008-037
Title
Merritt Hager Smith Diary 1863
DIGITAL CONTENT
This collection has been digitized and is available online.
Physical Characteristics
1 container; 0.1 cu. ft.
Creator
Creator
Language
English
Abstract
Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, serving with the regimental quartermaster.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Merritt Hager Smith Diary must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Merritt Hager Smith Diary, Ms2008-037 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Merritt Hager Smith Diary was purchased by Special Collections in 2008.

Alternate Form Available

This collection has been digitized and is available online.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the Merritt Hager Smith Diary commenced and was completed in July 2008.


Biographical Information

A history of the 97th New York includes in its roster a Private Merritt A. Smith, who enlisted in Boonville, New York on December 16, 1861 at age 19. According to his diary, Smith was born June 28, 1842. Census records indicate that he was the son of Julia Smith of Turin (Lewis County), New York. Smith notes himself a member of the regimental brass band, and Civil War rosters include a Merritt H. Smith who served as a second class musician in the band of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd/1st Army Corps. No further information about Smith could be found.

The 97th New York Infantry (also known as the Conkling Rifles) was organized in 1861 with men recruited from Herkimer, Lewis and Oneida counties. It was mustered into U. S. service on February 18, 1862, under command of Colonel Charles Wheelock. The regiment saw its first action at Cedar Mountain on August 9. Among the battles in which it fought were Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Petersburg, and Appomattox Courthouse. The 97th New York was mustered out of service on July 18, 1865 near Washington, D.C.

Scope and Content

This collection contains the Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, a member of the regimental band. The diary entries span the entire year of 1863. The first entry finds Smith receiving orders to proceed to Belle Plain Landing, Virginia to assist Lt. Louis Rowan, the regiment's quartermaster. Smith describes his work, the relative comfort in which he lives, recreation, the weather, homesickness, prayer meetings, sutlers, and makes many references to frequent and excessive drinking by various officers. Smith mentions attending Lincoln's grand review of the 1st Army Corps on April 9. Later that month, the regiment began marching northwestward, frequently changing camp, and Smith writes of the difficulty in marching and the conditions of the various camps. On July 1, the regiment arrived in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area. Smith describes the area, provides a brief synopsis of the news he has heard from the battle and mentions speaking with a group of Confederate prisoners. As the army again moves to camps southeastward, Smith notes the many towns and villages through which they pass. He writes of news received via newspaper and word-of-mouth but makes few references to specific battles; nor does he make any significant mention of the regimental band's activities.


Index Terms

    Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Diaries

Contents List

This collection has been digitized and is available online.

Folder 1
Diary 1863