Transcription of letter from William H. Smith to his brother-in-law, John Nebeker Massey of Albia, 28 Nov 1862.
Benton Barracks [St. Louis] Nov the 28, 62
Brother John I am rather lonesome here and i thought whilst i was walking a round the barracks & fair ground i would write the after noon as i hav spent the fornoon in getting once around [the grounds] you might think it gass when i say that i spent the fornoon in going once round but if you would go once round doubtless you would call it [a] half day i shall not attempt to describe the barracks for i should fail though there is four strait rows of bildings one half in length [?] and the sleeping department is about thirty ft by fifty these rooms are joined together except a Street once in a while i will mark out for co[mpany] two
this is one regiment then the stubling [stubble-covered fields] is still north of us o[h] i cannot tell you how it is so i will quit trying well i can tell you when we left Keokuk it was on monday the 24[th] and landed here on wednesday the 26[th] that is 6 co[mpanies] of us the others came in last knight we are verry comfortable fixed here and would bee willing to stay here all winter if they would bring the rebbels in reach of our rifles but the boys all with a few exceptions are anxious to go on they say that they want to do there part and then go home the fair ground has bin a magnificent structure but it has bin badly abused the fensing is being thrown down in fact every thing a[nd] it is going to [w]rack the handsome flour gardens and ever greens that bare the marks of once being nicely cultivated are now in ill shape one sided limbs broken of[f] and turned out
Calvin Kelsaw has just come in camp to hunt up his boys so he says george house is here and every time i meet him he says i am so glad to see you Rose was sent down here with us for his regiment he was in the gard house [at] Keokuk a bout seven weeks he will start for the reg[iment] tomorrow morning.
I no not when we will leav here but suppose a bout monday
I hav had a bad cole & cough for the last week but am on the mend now
here is the price of my cloths
we hav now a full rig for the field
hill and I sleep to gether each hav two good blankets in we sleep warm the coldest nite yet i cannot write i cannot think of anything to write about John write soon and try to do better than i hav and direct to st louis tell caroline to send hir letters to st louis
Giv my respects to all
Yours W H Smith