Smith, Merritt Hager Diary

A Guide to the Merritt Hager Smith Diary, 1863 Ms.2008.037


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Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061
specref@vt.edu
URL: http://spec.lib.vt.edu

John M. Jackson

Repository
Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech
Identification
Ms.2008.037
Title
Merritt Hager Smith Diary1863
Quantity
0.1 Cubic Feet 1 folder
Technical Access
This collection has been digitized and is available online .
Creator
Smith, Merritt Hager
Language
The materials in the collection are in English.
Abstract
This collection contains the Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, serving with the regimental quartermaster.

Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials. Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (specref@vt.edu or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Alternate Form Available

This collection has been digitized and is available online.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [identification of item], [box], [folder], Merritt Hager Smith Diary, Ms2008-037, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

Scope and Contents

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

Processing Information

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


Biographical Note

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 Contents

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.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

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

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Merritt Hager Smith Diary by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).

Container List

folder 1
Diary
1863