The Civil War Letters of William J. Srofe
July - December 1862
The 48th OVVI spent a long period on garrison duty at Camp Pickering, Memphis, Tennessee during the entire latter half of 1862.
"You will probably have heard of the expedition now preparing here of which our division is a part. You may expect soon to hear from me in the field of active service. Every day there is three or four new Regts launched[?]. We will soon have a large army here of perhaps some thirty or forty thousand men. I shall not say as to the point our army is determined to operate against for in truth I do not know."
William J. Srofe
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FOR THIS LETTER
September 7th 1862
I take the present opportunity of writing you a few lines first stating that my health is very good. I hope you are enjoying the same. The news came to day Cincinnati had surrendered to the secesh[?] and that they now their [?]. I dont know but I believe it is a ["damn" blurred out slightly] lie. I dont think the secesh[?] will ever get an army across the Ohio. I have not received a letter from you for some time but I thought I'd continue to write. I wish you would write oftener. If you don't write much it does make no difference. I am satisfied to hear that you are well. I hope while I am here that I will hear from you every week. I feel very lonesome here. I hope the war may soon end so I can get out of this God-forsaken country. I had for a while thought it would end soon and but for time appears to be on the rebels side at the present. I've[?] will have to wait a change mong[?] troops[?] we must have. We cannot fight the whole south with a hand full of men. This will be & before long we will have countless numbers in the fields. Rebelin cannot win and when the when the south obtains there independence & are victorious at every point I shall leave America. I will not stay among such a people. Nor would I live under Southern rule. Give my respects to all my enquiring friends. Write often and insure yourself that I will take good care of myself. Good by. May god bless and protect you. Ever remaining your affectionate son
W. J. Srofe.
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FOR THIS LETTER
September 22nd 1862
With pleasure I seat myself to write you a few lines. I am well and sincerely hope this may find you enjoying the same. I have not rec. a letter from you for three or four weeks (for what reason I am unable to say) but I suppose they (the letters) have been miscarried. The boys from New Hope and vicinity are all well with exception Amos[?] Keys. He has been unwell for some time but it is nothing serious I think. From what I can learn every one that is able to bear arms in Ohio are organized in companies. I do not know but I think it goes against the grain with a great many of them. Of one thing I am certain - that a company commanded by a young man from the neighborhood (about five miles north of New Hope) will distinguish themselves by running if they follow their captain. At least he[?] did so at the battle of Shiloh. I do not speak or write my opinion but the opinion of Co. K and her company commanders by all he is [?] as a [?]. New Hope has selected a man of tolerable good courage in private affairs but I cannot give my opinion any further until he has been tried[?]. I for 1 have seen so many brave men that blowed[?] about as if they could whip Jeff davis[?] And body guard themselves and at the whistle of the first cannon ball the[y] would schedaddle if they had a chance. In fact I believe that man does not live but has fear about him if he desires to live (and of course all sensable men want to live as long as possible) and unless he has that noble and patrioc[?] feeling that all americans should have he is bound to schedaddle. I understand John Srofe has gone as a private in Capt. Mcentires company in 7 OVC[?]. I think he will find a privates position a little different to a lieutenants. I do not know where he is and I would like very well for you to inform me on the receipt of this. I am proud of him as a brother, as being a patriot and a lover of liberty for a noble effort to accomplish a glorious interact[?]able object has prompted him to [?]. Had he remained at home and we failed to accomplish this he would surely have been cursed[?] by his own children. And the entire generation not only him but the entire population of the world[?] will be scorned[?] and cursed by the world as a [?] too feeble to do what mankind knows can be done. Too long has this war been [?] and should it last much longer I fear some other nation will interfere. We expect to remain here during the winter. Then or by that time I think the war will close if properly managed. We anticipate no danger here at the present. There has been a great many rumors about the rebels making an attack on us here but the general opinion of the officers is that there is no enemy near. There is but little communication kept up with the country. I hope you will write as often as possible for I seldom get a letter from you. When you write give all the news. Give my respects to all my inquiring friends if any. Direct to me as before. So no more but ever remain your affectionate son
P.S. I want you to give my the particulars about the disturbence between you and Uncle [?] Gibsons. This you have tried to keep a secret from me at least. I want to know all about it from you. I have only got mind of it. I understood that you did not want me to know any thing about it. I will know it all. You may as well tell me all and from what I have learned, if so, some of them had better be in hell than to ever[?] let me see their dog [?]. W.J.S. --- Send me some postage stamps for nothing but silver will buy them if[?] there is more here.
ENLARGEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
FOR THIS LETTER
Nove 17th 1862
I seat myself to let you know that I am in good health and in high spirits. You will probably have heard of the expedition now preparing here of which our division is a part. You may expect soon to hear from me in the field of active service. Every day there is three or four new Regts launched[?]. We will soon have a large army here of perhaps some thirty or forty thousand men. I shall not say as to the point our army is determined to operate against for in truth I do not know. But we are soldiers generly[?] pass our opinions upon such things which are generaly right. However as soon as the river raises we expect to begin our operation and the public[?] will hear more of this army. You need not be uneasy about me for I think that there will be no great show of resistence made. However I shall trust in providence[?] believing that all who trust in him on high are ever ready for any emergency. Let the result be as it may. I ask an interest in your prayers for a life in the army and the many characters committed with it are calculate[d] to ruin any young man. I would like to be at home if such a thing was possible and when I think how long it will [be] before I will see home (if I am ever so fortunate as to see home at all) I almost dispair and become hopeless. However I do not let these things trouble my mind too much. When I think my welfare is entirely dependent upon the future and that also of many of my friends and how [?] the future will be should this wicked rebellion prevail one [?]. And that the fortune of all and that own of our nation is dependent upon the success of our arms. When I think of these things it serves to arrouse my spirits with renewed determination and then I feel as if though I could fight while[?] the last armed foe [?]. There is sometimes a good deal of dissatisfaction in camp (but I hope you will not think that I am one of those that dispair so easily). When I see a man that gives way to these things so easily I allways feel like doing something for him & generaly find it a very easy matter to arrouse his spirits. To ask, to think what they have to fight for is generally sufficient. Yes to think what we have to fight for I think is sufficient to make any American's blood[?] boile with patriotism. It commenced raining last evening and still raining this morning and look like it might rain a week yet. This is the first rain we have for some two month that we could call a rain. I hope it is a general rain & will not quit until it raises the Mississippi fifty[?] Feet. The boys are all well. I must close. Write soon. From your affectionate son
Wm. J. Srofe.
P.S. give my respect to all my friends. W.J.S.
William J. Srofe 's letters, documents and photographs are published here with
the generous permission of Carolyn Srofe and Dan (EBAY ID CD112.4). They may not be reproduced
in any form without their explicit permission.
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