Last week I posted several entries from Captain Howard M. Smith’s personal wartime diary and focused in on his Christmas Day entry about how he and his men celebrated the day. This week we take a look at the next few entries. Take some time to read these as they are a day by day summary of his life as an officer, intermingled with his letters home. Here are some of the excerpts from this week’s entries and letters that stuck out to me.
His letter home dated Friday December 26, 1862 ends on a hopeful note, saying “Fortune has smiled on me and my Company since I have been in the Service, and I only hope it may follow me. I feel sure that when we leave here we shall go into danger, but it seems just as certain that I shall return home all safe and sound.”
The opening words to his journal entry the next day (Saturday Dec. 27, 1862) are “How delusive is hope.”
New Year’s Eve, Wednesday December 31, 1862, he writes “The last day of 1862! What a bloody record this year has. God grant that 1863 may not exhibit such a page!”
On New Year’s Day 1863, he writes “The day has been a beautiful one. Oh, that it might be a type of what the New Year is to be. Everything is quiet in town today.”
This is a unique insight into the life and thoughts, hopes and disappointments of our 19th century protagonist. It demonstrates how much the war is internal as well as external.
I will continue to post more excerpts in the weeks and months ahead.