1863: Smith Marquis Logan to Edwin Baker Leedy

Smith M. Logan (ca. 1860)

Smith M. Logan (ca. 1860)

These three letters were written by Smith Marquis Logan (1842-1886), the son of Thomas W. Logan (1809-1870) and Chloe Marquis (1819-1883) of Kosciusko County, Indiana. He married Amy Clerinda Van Curen (1851-1887) in 1869.

Smith wrote the letters to his brother-in-law, Edwin Baker Leedy (1838-1882), who married Miriam Logan (1841-1924) in March 1861. At the time of the third letter, Miriam had just given birth to her second son who was subsequently named Oliver Lyman Leedy (1863-1937).

Smith served in the 20th Battery, Indiana Light Artillery from September 1862 to June 1865. This battery was organized at Indianapolis, Indiana, and mustered in September 19, 1862. They left the State for Henderson, Kentucky on 17 December 1862. They remained there till May, 1863, when they were ordered to Nashville, Tennessee, and performed duty there till 5 October 1863. Refitted and assigned to guard duty along Nashville & Chattanooga R. R. till March 5, 1864. Moved to Bridgeport, Ala., March 5, and garrison duty there till July. Ordered to the field and joined 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, south of the Chattahoochie River, Georgia. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Pursuit of Hood into Alabama October 1-26. Action near Atlanta October 30. Moved to Chattanooga, Tenn., November 5, thence to Nashville, Tenn. Battles of Nashville December 15-16. Duty at Courtland, Ala., and Chattanooga, Tenn., till June, 1865. Mustered out June 28, 1865.


Nashville, Tennessee
March 21st 1863

Mr. Edwin B. Leedy,

It with much pleasure that I seat myself to write you a few lines in answer to your most welcome letter which came to hand last evening and to my great surprise found a sum of money which was almost as welcome as the letter. In fact, I thank you very much for the accommodation  for I was pretty near out of money and there is no prospect of getting any very soon. We only lack a few days of having five months pay due to us but whether we ever get it, I cannot tell.

Well, Edwin, I was very glad to hear from you and to hear that you were getting along well. I wish I was at home to work with you this Spring for I am tired of doing nothing and getting nothing for it. I know that I would  feel much better to be at work. I believe I have not wrote you a letter since we were placed in charge of those siege guns. Where I am stationed it is a very nice place and I think it is about as healthy a place as there is in the town.

For my part, I am well and hardy and getting along as well as a soldier could expect. The rest of the boys are all well except David. He has been very sick. He has been in the hospital one month yesterday. He has the erysipelas on his face and head. I thought for awhile that he would not get well but this morning he appears to be some better and I think with proper care he will get well. But he is very low indeed. I encourage him all that I can to keep him in good heart.

Edwin, I will give you all the particular news that I have had lately though I don’t expect it will be anything new to you for I expect you get more news than I do and probably more reliable for all that we get to hear is just army reports — though I can state some things that are facts. There has been several skirmishes in this part of the country. The Louisville train that was coming through day before yesterday was stopped and captured by the rebels and the mail was taken and they were just getting ready to parole our men when a squad of our cavalry came up and recaptured the mail and killed one of the rebels and the rest fled in every direction.

The letter I got from you was on the train and I suppose had a narrow escape but it came out all right at last and on the same evening there was a sutler and his wagons and goods were captured about four miles from here on the Murfreesboro Pike. This mischief is supposed to be done by the citizens through the country. They join together when they find a good chance and then disband so as not to be suspected but I think they will stop some of the men from that kind of work about here. I read an order a few days ago in a Nashville paper that they were going to conscript a Regiment out of this town. They will take all of those men that claim to be neutral men and all secesh sympathizers and place Officers that is the true blue over them and then if they refuse to fight for the Union, they will take them as prisoners of war and exchange them for our men. I like the idea very well.

Mariam, I have almost filled my paper before I mentioned you but you must not think that you were forgot for I intended the letter for you as well as Edwin. I often wish I was at your house to spend the Sundays that I have to pass away here without knowing what day of the week it is. But I don’t expect to see you at home very soon — not sooner than 30 months yet anyhow. But then if we all live, we will see each other then for I think I will come home about a month and then join the regulars for life.

Edwin, I want you to write as soon as you get this letter and give me all the news that is going and if you can send me a paper occasionally for I have nothing else to do while we stay here but write and I can’t get papers very often. Give my respects to all enquiring friends.

Good Bye, — Smith M. Logan


Nashville, Tennessee
Sunday, April 12th 1863

Dear brother & sister,

I embrace this opportunity of writing you another letter in answer to your letter of the 3rd of the month which came to hand last evening & was very welcomely received. I was very glad to hear from you again & to hear that your were well and getting along so fine. I am well as usual and getting along fine. The rest of the boys are all well. I saw all of them yesterday. We were all called together at our headquarters yesterday for the purpose of drawing some of Uncle Sam’s money and you had better believe the old 20th Battery was a jolly set of boys last night. Whiskey costs $1.25 a quart but they didn’t mind that. They had all they could drink and more too for some of them was right funny. I didn’t buy any whiskey but I got all the whiskey I wanted to drink. We got four month’s pay yesterday. I got $55 and have it yet but I will start part of it home tomorrow.

Ed, soldiering is a slow way to make money. Folks at home may think that soldiers can make lots of money but they are very much mistaken for soldiers is obliged to spend some money for it is pretty hard for a man to live on Uncle Sam’s grub all the time when he can get anything else that is good to eat. I haven’t got that box yet but I think it will come in a day or two. I thank you very much for what you have sent me but thanks will not pay you. But if I ever get back to Indiana, I will pay you well for all your trouble. If the rebels do not capture the train, I think my box will soon come. The Express company is not allowed but one car per day and there is so much express that they can’t fetch it all through as fast as it comes to Louisville. The rebels fired on the train night before last but it got away without much damage.

There has been considerable of fighting going on out here about eight miles on the railroad between here and Franklin. They captured and burned a large train of cars but fortunately the train was coming in to Nashville and had nothing on but the guards and about 20 rebels that had been taken prisoners. They were in a freight car and as soon as the rebels fired on the train one of the guards fired right through the cars and killed four of the rebels at the one shot and then turned the breech of his gun and knocked four or five down as they came to the door of the cars and her then closed the door and locked it and the rebels that made the attack set the train on fire and they were all burned up. There was three or four regiments went down from here to reinforce night before last but I haven’t heard how they have come out.

Well Ed, I hope you will have good luck this summer with your crops. I wish I had the same privilege of working the same as you for I am tired laying round. It appears as though I am not making anything at all, but never mind. I will make this all up when I get back. I will work after night until I make up for what time I am soldiering.

Miriam, you said you didn’t want me to get homesick, but you need not be alarmed about that for I started with the expectation of staying three years and I still expect to stay my time out but it is pretty hard to content myself those warm days a laying here doing nothing and never get to see any pretty girls or anything else that is good.

David died the first day of this month. I will have to quit for this time but I could write all day and not get tired talking. My love to all my friends. Write soon. — S. M. Logan


Lavergne, Tennessee
December 29, 1863

Esteemed Friends,

It is with much pleasure that I seat myself to write you a few lines in answer to your letter of the 20th of this month which was duly received and thankfully accepted for. I had come to the conclusion that you had forgotten me entirely or else was so busily engaged that you could not write. But I can account for your delay now for you say you are blessed with another son. Therefore, I don’t blame you for not writing for such prosperity is enough to draw the attention of the oldest man in the world — even myself. I expect it would be the cause of me losing several night’s sleep.

As Miriam requested me to send her a name, I would just suggest Michael or Antony as either one is a very appropriate name for an Irishman.

Well, Ed, I am happy to inform you that your letter found me well and able for my rations and when a man is able for that in the army, he is well off. Edwin, you stated that you expected to be drafted and if you were, you would come and see us but I don’t think you will have any chance to volunteer after you are drafted. But if you can have your choice of service, take the artillery before any other kind of service — either heavy or light — and I would take field artillery if I had my choice. I have saw enough of all kinds of service to know which is the best and I believe if I had been in either infantry or cavalry — either one — I would have been dead by this time. But I hope you will be fortunate enough to escape the draft. I would like to see you very well indeed, but I would rather not see you go a soldiering for it is a very disagreeable life. But if you have to go, don’t be disheartened but go ahead and by proper care of yourself, you never be any the worse of soldiering. It is thought that a soldier’s constitution will be of no account if he soldiers very long but it is just according to his own conduct. I am just as stout now as I was when I left home and if any difference at all, I am healthier than I ever was in my life.

Ed, keep this letter to yourselves for I have given you this history of soldiering for your own benefit providing you would have to go forth in the next draft.

We have no news of any importance from the War Department and I don’t know whether there is any fighting going on or not. The guerilla’s have become quite bothersome about here within the last two weeks. There was a doctor shot close to Nashville about a week ago and several others have been attacked close to Lavergne but none of our men have been captured yet. But we have caught several guerilla’s and some have come in and gave themselves up.

Well, I suppose the folks at home are having joyous old times since it is now about the Holidays. I would like to be at home to attend to some of those girls that is so anxious for a beau. I think I could attend to their wants, scientifically.

Well, I don’t know as I can write anything more of any importance so I will quit for the present hoping to hear from you soon. My respects to all. As ever yours, — Smith M. Logan

Address as before.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: