This letter was written by Pvt. Jacob C. Smith (1939-1920) of Co. E, 2nd Pennsylvania Cavalry, who enlisted in October 1861 and was discharged from the service as a sergeant in July 1865. He took part in the battles of Bull Run, Cedar Mountain, Gettysburg, Petersburg, Ashby Gap, Richmond, and Bilton Station. Jacob was the son of Jacob and Barbara (Defibaugh) Smith. “Mr. Smith was an honest, industrious, honorable citizen, loved by his family and respected by all who knew him and a member of the Reformed church.”
Jacob wrote the letter to his friend, Theodore Kinton (1828-1889), and Margaret Ellen (Stuckey) Kinton (1838-1934), Theodore’s wife. The Kinton’s resided in Schellsburg, Bedford county, Pennsylvania.
December 16th, AD 1861
I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at this present time. I got your letter this morning and I was glad to hear from you and the rest of the neighbors. I must tell you that you ________ over in another company. Captain [Gabriel] Middleton is our captain. Lieutenant Anderson [is] First Lieutenant. Colonel [Richard Butler] Price’s son [Butler D. Price] is Second Lieutenant and the company is full now and I like it very well that I have got such a good captain. He treats us first rate. He is with us all the time in the camp and looks after us all the time. He has plenty for us to eat and drink. We have bread and meat and coffee for breakfast, beans and rice and meat and best of bread for dinner, and for supper we have nothing but bread and coffee, I am getting fat on it. I have gained 10 pounds since I have been in camp.
A bad action happened just now. Nathan Smith and myself were writing this evening and the hood fell down and knocked down the candle and burnt my paper.
There was one death in camp last week and he was buried very nice. He was dressed in full uniform. The boys is in [an] uproar this evening. Some of them says that we will be discharged and some says not and so they have got it. I must tell you about Fred[erick D.] Feight [of Co. E] is with us here and he is bragging as big as ever.
Nothing more at present—only I have got a cold and I don’t feel well myself. I still remain your friend—Theodore Kinton
A few lines for Margaret E[llen] Kinton
I was glad to hear from you that you have got back home again. William Suiters has just begun to write a letter. The boys is in good spirits this evening. It is 7 o’clock now and I know nothing more to write. I want you to write to me soon again and right [a] little plainer [so] that [I] can read it. I could hardly read what you did send me. Nothing more at present. I still remain your friend, — Jacob C. Smith
I want you to write to me and let me know how you and grandmother is getting along. I am well. Nothing more at present. I still remain your friend, — J. C. Smith
Do not forget to write you all to me. Address your letters in care of Lieutenant W. W. [William W.] Anderson, Company E.