The Civil War Letters of William J. Srofe

July - August 1863




Once Grant's army crossed the Mississippi at Bruinsburg, he cut off all communications with his supply base. He reestablished communications when he invested Vicksburg in late May. On May 22nd, the 48th OVI was part of a failed assault on the Railroad Redoubt. Srofe settled in with his fellow Ohioans for the siege.

"I would have written sooner but I hoped to be able by this time to inform you that Vicksburg had fallen and that we had again been the victors but alas my hopes have been disappointed and we are still battering away at the walls of the southern Giberalter[?]."

W. J. Srofe


Read more about the events mentioned in this section's letters in the Regimental History



Near Vicksburg Mississippi
June 7th 1863

Dear Mother

Knowing that you are anxious to hear of me is why I write this evening. I would have written sooner but I hoped to be able by this time to inform you that Vicksburg had fallen and that we had again been the victors but alas my hopes have been disappointed and we are still battering away at the walls of the southern Giberalter[?]. They must soon surrender unless they are able to mas[s?] a large force in our rear and raise the siege. This cannot be done without weakening their forces at the several different points of equal importence to them. Our army is also very large and capable of sieging Vicksburg and at the same time defending our rear against fifty thousand. Deserter say that they are only allowed one half lb. meal and one half lb. of beef a day at Vicksburg. Men cannot keep up long with such food as this and fighting an army like ours who are flattered[?] with our former successes and confident that there is a victory waiting for us. How I long to see this struggle end & to see our unhappy people again be made happy by peace. Oh! What a charm there is in the sound of that word "peace". Little did the American people know its worth and we may look forward and hope for its speedy return only to have our hopes disappointed and a realization of our worst fears. Would you like to see my return home? Would I be proud to enter old Ohio again? It is easier to imagine than appreciate such pleasures. Let me know how you get along in your next letter and also if you ever got the money I sent you ($25.00) twenty five dollars. Inform me how Azubah is and dont forget to let me know how Uncle John Thompson rellished the letter I sent him. All the New Hope boys are well and up to this time none have been hurt. They have all fought nobley and done honor to their friends [&] country. Our tents have just come up and the boys are busy pitching them within four hundred yards of and in sight of the enemies forts. Perhaps they will be enticed to throw a shell among us. I must close by hoping you will answer my letter soon. I remain your affectionate son

W.J. Srofe.

Direct to me, Company "K", 48th Regt Ohio V. Inf. 2nd Brig. 10th Div. 13th Army Corps Army of Tennessee.




Camp near Vicksburg Miss
June 27 [or 21?] 1863

Dear Mother

I wrote you last sunday. Since then there has been nothing important occured that I know of. I am still in excellent health. We are slowly but surely nearing the enemies works. Some of our rifle pits are so near those of the enemy that our boys throught spades of dirt inside the enemies forts. On our right (in Gen Logans Division) they are digging the rebels fort down. I do not think that this army will be long kept in suspence for unless they surrender soon our men will charge them. They cannot resist another charge. Never. All our men will have to do will be to climb their forts. We have no hills, hollows, deep ravines[?] &etc. to charge over as we had on the 22nd of last month. Our men can get into the rifle pits during the nights and at the break of day advance. One charge will be sufficient to gain the greatest victory on record. It will cost the life of many a brave man. This is why our generals do not advance immediatly. They still hope to force a surrender by starvation. But I fear that our fond hopes which was so bright and flattering in the beginning will end in sad disappointment. I hope my fears may be unfounded but this is the thirty third day of the charge. The enemy will not surely be idle all this time. They will sooner or later attempt to raise the siege by attacking our rear. Though I do not think that they will be successful. Nothing less than fifty or sixty thousand men could render them any aid and I feel perfectly at ease as to the result if they would even bring fifty-thousand more men in our rear. They could not whip us though they might kill a great many. There was thirty deserters came in side our lines yesterday. They reported that there was from three hundred to four hundred citizens and soldiers killed in Vicksburg yesterday by the explosing of our shells. There is still talk of our regiment being consolidated and in fact an order to that affect has been received but will not be enforced until something decisive has transpired in and about Vicksburg. If this order is enforced I no doubt will be mustered out - at least I hope so - and will be at home in July or August at the furthest. I have not received a letter from John Srofe for some time. I hardly know where to write to. I hope you will write and let me know if he has met with any mishap or accident. I see Dr. Gordon yesterday. He is very unwell though makes out to do his duty. All the boys are well from New Hope and anxious to get into Vicksburg. I have command of the company now as the captain has been sick for some time and Lieut. Rike is detached on Gen Leandrams[Landram's] Staff as Inspector General. I must close my asking you to write soon. I am your affectionate son


Give my respects to my enquiring friends and direct your letters as before.


Col. Sullivan orders Srofe to
assume command of Company H





Vicksburg Mississippi
July the 29, 63

Dr Mother

As Jacob Fite is going home I thought I would send you a few lines. I rec. your[s] containing postage stamps and I was very glad you sent them. You will see [?] soldiers has done for Jacob Fite. You will not see the same man he was when he left home but a fine looking, gentel and soberminded man. We have orders to march to Natches which is two hundred miles below here on the river. I suppose we will encamp there until fall. As I wrote you a letter the other day I have not much to write. Write soon and often and remember your affectionate son

W.J. Srofe

P.S. As Jacob is not going as soon as I thought he would I have concluded to write more. I came very near coming home but I was not lucky. Better be born lucky than rich but unfortuneatly I am neither. Should we remain inactive until fall, I will perhaps obtain a leave of absence but I shall make no calculations until I know more. I suppose John Morgan played [out?] when he was around. I [?] you to write and give me the particulars of what he done and tell me if John Srofe was at home when he (Morgan) was there. Give my best respects to all my enquiring and remember your affectionate son





Vicksburg Miss
August 16, 63

Dear Mother

As it is very pleasant this evening I thought I would improve my time and pleasure by writing you a few lines. I did not think when writing my last that we would remain here until now but here we are [?] with orders to move but no precise time when to embark. Our first orders were to land at Natches then we received orders to land at Port Hudson[?]. Our orders have again been changed and we are now to be landed at New Orleans. I do not think that we will remain there long. I do not know exactly what we will do next or where we will go to from New Orleans and did I know I would hardly feel at liberty to state[?] the same. But we cannot be disappointed should they send us to any point occupied by the rebels for as we have now got our hands in we would as [?] finish our work and return to our home. Everything is quiet in this department. The rebels are all [gone?] and left to us their "godforsaken country". There appears to be a force in the neighborhood of Meridian in the easter[n?] part of this state. There is said to be twenty five thousand of them in command of the notorious Joe Jonson. Should we move in that direction they will no doubt fall back on Mobile and make a feeble stand. Their men (Jonsons) are deserting at every opportunity. The people of Mississippi are returning to their homes and all[?][?] to the old flag. Secession is played out in this part of the Confederacy and I believe an other brief company will finish our work and establish our flag on the spires of Mobile. Charleston cannot long hold out. That fated city must soon be ours then, "[so?] be to the confederacy". As it is getting late I must close. I am your affectionate son

Wm. J. Srofe.

You will[?] excuse me for not paying the postage for it so dark. I cannot find my stamps. WJS.


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.



Srofe Letters:
Previous Part

Srofe Letters:
Next Part


Return to the Srofe Letters Page

Return to the 48th OVVI Home Page