A Guide to the Smith Family Letters, 1861-1865, 1912-1996, n.d. (Bulk 1861-1865) Smith Family Letters Ms1996-018

A Guide to the Smith Family Letters, 1861-1865, 1912-1996, n.d. (Bulk 1861-1865)

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1996-018


[logo]

Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Special Collections, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
USA
Phone: (540) 231-6308
Fax: (540) 231-3694
Email: specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu/

© 2009 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: Helen Harrison, student assistant, and Laura Katz Smith, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms1996-018
Title
Smith Family Letters 1861-1865, 1912-1996, n.d. (Bulk 1861-1865)
Physical Characteristics
14 folders; 0.2 cu. ft.
Language
English
Abstract
The collection contains forty-nine Civil War-era letters written by four brothers of Carroll County, Virginia: James R., Stephen Mitchell, William Alexander, and Barton Pierce Smith. All four served in Confederate units from Virginia. The collection also includes a family history and notes by Frederick R. Smith.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Smith Family Letters must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Smith Family Letters, Ms1996-018 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.

Acquisition Information

The Smith Family Letters were donated to Special Collections in October 1996.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Smith Family Letters commenced in October 1996 and was completed in November 1996. Additional description was completed in April 2009.


Biographical Information

Alexander (abt. 1807-1893) and Charity (Mitchell) Smith (1798-1858) married in 1828. They had seven children: James R. (1831-1863), Stephen Mitchell (1832-1913), William Alexander (1835-1868), Kiturah (b. 1836), Barton Pierce (1838-1863), Polly G. (b. 1839) and Sarah E. (Sallie) (b. 1840).

James R. enlisted with Co. I of the 50 th Regiment, Virginia Infantry around May of 1862. He was sick and on furlough at home in Carroll County when he died in November 1863.

Stephen Mitchell married Mary Gillespie Lindsey (1833-1898) in 1855. They had five children. After Mary's death, he married Emily Lindsey. Since Stephen was the only blacksmith in the region, it seems he was exempt for military service during the early part of the Civil War. When the need for soldiers became pressing, however, he was drafted in late 1864. He served in Company G, 54 th Regiment, Virginia Infantry. He seems to have deserted and hidden out on family land until the end of the war. He died in 1913.

William Alexander ("Alex" in the family letters) was a teacher in Carroll County, Virginia. He enlisted with Company I, 50 th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, in June 1861, eventually rising to the rank of 2 nd Lieutenant in May 1862. While on leave in October of 1863, he married Ann Electra Utley (sister of Barton's wife, Mary). They had two children. William was captured May 12, 1864 at Spottsylvania Court House. He was held prisoner at Point Lookout from until June 23 rd, then held at Fort Delaware until June 16, 1865. He returned to Carroll County after the war and resumed teaching. He died from injuries relating to an accident in December 1868.

Barton Pierce married Mary P. Utley in 1862. They had one daughter. He enlisted in Company D, 29 th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, in February of 1863. He is often referred to as "Doc(k)" in his brothers' letters. He may have had medical training prior to the Civil War, as he was assigned as a steward to the regimental surgeon. He was shot and killed by the Home Guard while on furlough, September 24, 1863.

John Nichols Ridgway (1836-1898) served in Company D, 58 th Regiment, Virginia Infantry. He married Mildred Ann Kennett after the Civil War. They had one daughter.

For additional information, see the following (Virginia Tech Special Collections Call Numbers included):
Alderman, John P. 28 th Virginia Infantry. The Virginia Regimental Histories Series. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1989. Rare Book Collection: Spec Civil War E 581.5 29th .A64 1989 c.2
Chapla, John D. 50 th Virginia Infantry. The Virginia Regimental Histories Series. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1997. Rare Book Collection: Spec Civil War E 581.5 50th .C51 1997 c.2
Weaver, Jeffrey C., and G. L. Sherwood. 54 th Virginia Infantry. The Virginia Regimental Histories Series. Lynchburg, VA: H.E. Howard, 1993. Rare Book Collection: Spec Civil War E 581.5 54th .E44 1993. c.2

Scope and Content

The collection consists of forty-nine letters written by the brothers of the Smith family of Carroll County, Virginia, mostly while they served as soldiers for the Confederacy during the Civil War. A majority of the letters are written to one of the brothers, Stephen Mitchell, from encampments in Virginia. Other correspondents include: their father Alexander; Stephen's wife, Mary; and two sisters, Sarah (Sallie) and Polly.

Most of the letters are reports of recent events in camp and daily life, frustrations with the "soldier's life," and inquiries for news and letters from home. The letters also share information on family and friends from Carroll County who are serving with the brothers. William's letters include some description of the battles at Lewisburg and Chancellorsville. Letters to Stephen often contain discussion of the Home Guard and warnings to be cautious and avoid being dragged into service.

The collection includes one letter by John Nichols Ridgway of Franklin County, written in 1862. The collection also contains supplementary information about the Smith family compiled by Frederick R. Smith.

Arrangement

The letters in this collection is arranged into six series. Series I-V are arranged by correspondent, then chronologically. Series VI is arranged chronologically.

Series I contains the Barton Pierce Smith Letters from March to June of 1863. With one exception (a letter to his father), these letters are written to his brother, Stephen Mitchell Smith.

Series II contains the James R. Smith Letters from August 1862 to October 1863. His letters are written to Stephen Mitchell (and in one case Stephen and Mary) Smith.

Series III includes the Stephen Mitchell Smith Letters from December 1864 to February 1865 written to his wife. This series also has a photograph of Smith's exemption from earlier in the war, and a pension check he received in 1912.

Series IV consists of the William Alexander Smith Letters from July 1861 to April 1864. The letters are mostly to Stephen, but also include correspondence to his father, sisters, and brother, James.

Series V consists of a single letter written by John Nichols Ridgway to R.P. Wright, on November 6, 1862.

Series VI contains Frederick R. Smith's "A Smith Family History" from 1975 as well as his later notes and letters about the history.

Related Material

Transcripts of the Smith Family Letters, created for a class project, are available online, with addition background information.

Separated Material


Index Terms

    Persons:

  • Ridgway, John Nichols
  • Smith, Alexander, abt. 1807-1893
  • Smith, Barton Pierce, 1838-1863
  • Smith, Frederick R.
  • Smith, James R., 1831-1863
  • Smith, Stephen Mitchell, 1832-1913
  • Smith, William Alexander, 1835-1868
  • Family Names:

  • Smith family, Carroll County, Va.
  • Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • Local/Regional History and Appalachian South
  • Montgomery County (Va.)
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Contents List

Series I: Barton Pierce Smith Letters, 1863
  • Box-Folder 1:1
    Letter to Alexander Smith, March 3, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:1
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, March 20, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:1
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, April 27, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:1
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, May 7, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:1
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, June 17, 1863.
Series II: James R. Smith Letters, 1862-1863
  • Box-Folder 1:2
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell and Mary G. Smith, August 29, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:2
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, December 30, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, March 7, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, April 18, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, May 25, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, May 26, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, July 21, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, September 26, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:3
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, October 21, 1863.
Series III: Stephen Mitchell Smith Letters, 1864-1865, 1912
  • Box-Folder 1:4
    Photograph of Stephen Mitchell Smith's exemption from service, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:5
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, December 4, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:5
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, December 18, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:5
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, December 22, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:5
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, December 25, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:6
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, Janaury 8, 1865.
  • Box-Folder 1:6
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, January 12, 1865.
  • Box-Folder 1:6
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, January 19, 1865.
  • Box-Folder 1:6
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, Janaury 22, 1865.
  • Box-Folder 1:6
    Letter to Mary G. Smith, February 3, 1865.
  • Box-Folder 1:7
    Check for pension, paid under Confederate Pension Law of Virginia, August 31, 1912.
Series IV: William Alexander Letters, 1861-1864
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Alexander Smith, July 16, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, August 19, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, September 7, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, September 18, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, October 6, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:8
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, October 21, 1861.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, May 24, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, June 16, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, July 22, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, August 4, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Alexander Smith, September 4, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, October 23, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, December 23, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:9
    Attachment to July 22 nd letter, n.d.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, February 3, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell, Polly, and Sallie Smith, February 9, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, March 3, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, April 28, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, May 4, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, June 2, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, July 30, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, August 14, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, August 17, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, September 22, 1863.
  • Box-Folder 1:10
    Letter to James R. Smith, November 26, 1863.

    James would have been deceased by the time this letter reached the family.

  • Box-Folder 1:11
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, January 3, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:11
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, March 23, 1864.
  • Box-Folder 1:11
    Letter to Stephen Mitchell Smith, April 29, 1864.
Series V: Other Correspondence, 1862.
  • Box-Folder 1:13
    Letter by John Nichols Ridgway to R.P. Wright, November 6, 1862.
Series VI: Family History 1975, 1996, n.d.
  • Box-Folder 1:13
    "A Smith Family History" by Frederick R. Smith, 1975.
  • Box-Folder 1:14
    Notes and letters by Frederick R. Smith regarding the Smith Family papers, 1996, n.d.

Significant Persons Associated With the Collection

  • Ridgway, John Nichols
  • Smith, Alexander, abt. 1807-1893
  • Smith, Barton Pierce, 1838-1863
  • Smith, Frederick R.
  • Smith, James R., 1831-1863
  • Smith, Stephen Mitchell, 1832-1913
  • Smith, William Alexander, 1835-1868