Valley of the Shadow
The War Years
Spring 1861–Spring 1865

Letters & Diaries


John Smith (1863)

In a letter on March 6, 1863, Smith describes camp life and remarks upon the terrible winter weather. He goes on to complain about the war’s length, angrily questioning the motives of “rebels” and complaining about Virginia’s terrain. Smith concludes by recounting a recent skirmish with “rebel” forces. He goes out of his way to mention seeing a “dead rebel.” In another letter on March 22, 1863, Smith asks his grandmother to send money and mentions a recent cavalry raid, noting that he missed it because he was on guard duty.