Pvt. Jeremiah K. Rathbun, Co. E, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Battle

1 07 2020

Headquarters 2nd Reg. RIV
Camp Clark, Co. E
July 25, 1861

Dear Father, I received your letter last nite and dear to us in the Battle last Sunday and among them was our Col. Slocum who acted like a brave man in the fight and Major Ballou and others that seemed nearer to us because we have always worked with and those was Stephen Holland, Billy Nichols, and Esic Smith is missing but we do not think he was killed and Lieut Church is missing to.

Our company was acting as Scouts when the enemy was found and was the first ones that fired a shot at the enemy and the 2 Regiment fout about twelve minutes before another was on the ground.

We was not more fit to fight than dead men for we was all tired out amarching and instead of afighting Sunday we was not to fight until Tuesday and some think that McDowel was a cam Traitor and I think so too for when we got on the field he came up and waved his handkerchief and the enemy began to fire. Good Bye.

Dear Brother, I received your letter and was glad to hear from you all. We had a pretty hard time on Sunday but I got back safe after a hard march and we are all about half sick. The next time we go I hope we shall not get out of Ammunition so as to wait for it to come to us as we did this time so you can see that the traitor was among us somewhere. Who ever heard of twenty thousand men fighting against one hundred thousand. We was to wait till Patterson’s forces came up to help us. Good Bye.

Dear Wife, It is with pleasure that I write these few lines to let you know I am well excepting I am a little tired, but am thankful that I am here to write you once more. I hope you and my little children is well and you must not worry about me, but trust in the Lord as he doeth all things well. I should like to see you and the children very much and all my friends. Tell father Rheubin that I should like to see him and I think I shall sometime. Give my love to little Rheubin and I should like to see him very much.

Dear Sisters, I thought I would try to write you a note but I don’t know what to write only to say that I am well and pray you are the same and should like to have you send me a paper that has got the news in it if you can. That is all I can think of now.

From your Affectionate Husband and Son Jeremiah K. Rathbun.

From Voices of the Civil War: Letters and Journal Excerpts of South Kingstown Men in the Union Army, 1861-1863, Shirley L. Barrett, Ed, Petaquamscutt Historical Society, pp. 13-14

Contributed by Rob Grandchamp

2nd Rhode Island Infantry Roster 

Jeremiah K. Rathbun at Ancestry 

Jeremiah K. Rathbun at Fold3 

Jeremiah K. Rathbun at FindAGrave 





Corp. William E. Smith, Co. E, 2nd Rhode Island Infantry, On the Battle

1 07 2020

2nd Rgt. Co. E, Camp Clarke
[Undated] 1861

Dear mother, I am sorry to say that we can’t give eny acount of Esic nor Clark Rodman nor Lieut. Church. Don’e tell Allme as it will worry granmother. We are all well and that is all I can say. Ask father if he recieved them books I sent him and papers.

Give my love to all the boys and girls and tell them we are goin again pretty soon. Tell them I don’t think they care much for us they don’t write to eny of us. Tell all the girls to not be afreaide to write for we shall like to hear from them. Tell the Davidson’s girls to write to me. I want to hear from them all.

I saw many of our Ridgment shot down. I was close to Slocum when he was kild. A hard time we had I tell you. The Second Ridgment, that’s the one we are in you know, stood 45 minutes in front of a ridgment of the Rebels before eny of the rest got up to us. I dee Esic on the field afighting and have not seen him since. After the fight I looked every where for him but could not find him. Tell Dorcas Harvey her husband is here as well.

Don’t let enybody see this letter, if you do I won’t write eny more for if you do they will tell it all around and they write back and it makes a fuss saying that such a one wrote this and that.

Write George and let him know for I can’t. Don’t fret Mother for me for I will come out all rite at the end.

From your soon William E Smith

From Voices of the Civil War: Letters and Journal Excerpts of South Kingstown Men in the Union Army, 1861-1863, Shirley L. Barrett, Ed, Petaquamscutt Historical Society, p. 11

Contributed by Rob Grandchamp

2nd Rhode Island Infantry Roster 

William E. Smith at Ancestry 

William E. Smith at Fold3 

William E. Smith at FindAGrave (likely)