The following letter from Edward P. Smith to his wife, Eliza, was transcribed and sent to me, 12 July 2000, by Karen Farley, who is their great-great-granddaughter. In order to view interesting stationery that shows Camp Bliss check another letter from a soldier of the 143rd.
Camp Bliss Upton Hill Virginia November 16th 1862.
Dear Wife today is Sunday & I have a few moments to spare witch I shall make use of in writing to my absent wife Dear Wife I am well this morning & I hope these few lines will find you injoying the same blessing I donít think of much to write today so I will go back to Camp Holly & tell you of the parting scenes I never witnessed such a scene before in my life the day before we left there I voluntered & went on guard on purpose to give some of the boys a priveledge to get out to see there wives & friends because they could not get a pass to get out some would come to me & want to go out only a minute & some wanted to get there likeness taken & some of the women would come crying to say let wont you let my husband come out & see me & the dear children for only five minutes the day before we left Camp Holly the men was not alowed to go out neather was the woman alowed to come in but I pass every one out & in that come to me when there was no officers near that I could trust but I could not help crying sometimes myself to see the men & there wifes & children crying but that is not all the next morning was the worst when we left all I want in this world is not to see such a heart rendering scene again ift only had one cent for every tear that was shed there for twenty four hours I would have money enough to last me my life time I cannot explain it by words men women & children was standing on every stoop & in every house & the streets was crowded on every side crying & waving there handkercheif & saying ggod bye Husband or Father or Brother whilst the men in the ranks would say good bye wife or son or daughter some would try to say goodbye but could say nothing but cry while others would say donít forget to write to me The men was not alowed to leave the ranks The wives of the soldiers would catch the men by there hands & say donít go & leave me how can you go & leave your dear wife & children They would clap there hands & cry & say I shall never see my dear Husband again if he goes & leaves me I could not keep the tears from running down my cheeks although I hardened my heart as much as I could now I must leave of writing to go to meeting now I have just returned from meeting our Regement was formed in a hollow square in the open field & the preacher was in the center of the square
When we left Camp Holly we went through Monticello & there was were the crying was some of the men & woman followed us two & three miles from Monticello but some of the men did pass there wifes without shedding a tear I was very glad that you was not there not because I did not want to see you for my heart was with you but if you had been there I think I should made a fool of myself as well as some of the rest did the first day we went to Wortsborough & there we staid all night but leaving there it was not quite so bad but some crying there we got to Bloomingburg about ten oclock & there was another parting scene for there was a company raised there the whole Regement was glad when we got on the cars & started there is a man here from Monticello he came here the 13th & he said that all the folks in Monticello was glad when the Regement left & he said he never seen such a time before in his life I seen & spoke to Mr Stewart to day he is from Neversink flats he come to see the boys we are doing very well here at present I cannot find any fault this ink we made out of poke berries donít you think it is nice we have got about a gil of it in our tent there is a good deal of Poke grows here if I had my place to carry the ink I would make a considerable of it so no more at present I remain your affectionet HusbandE P Smith Co F 143 reg
NY I V
D of Capt Pinney