Merritt Hager Smith Diary
Scope and Content
This collection contains the American Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, a member of the regimental band. The diary entries span the entire year of 1863. The first entry finds Smith receiving orders to proceed to Belle Plain Landing, Virginia to assist Lt. Louis Rowan, the regiment's quartermaster. Smith describes his work, the relative comfort in which he lives, recreation, the weather, homesickness, prayer meetings, sutlers, and makes many references to frequent and excessive drinking by various officers. Smith mentions attending Lincoln's grand review of the 1st Army Corps on April 9. Later that month, the regiment began marching northwestward, frequently changing camp, and Smith writes of the difficulty in marching and the conditions of the various camps. On July 1, the regiment arrived in the Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area. Smith describes the area, provides a brief synopsis of the news he has heard from the battle and mentions speaking with a group of Confederate prisoners. As the army again moves to camps southeastward, Smith notes the many towns and villages through which they pass. He writes of news received via newspaper and word-of-mouth but makes few references to specific battles; nor does he make any significant mention of the regimental band's activities.
- Smith, Merritt Hager (Person)
Language of Materials
The materials in the collection are in English.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.
Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: http://bit.ly/scuareproduction. Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: http://bit.ly/scuapublication. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives (firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.
A history of the 97th New York includes in its roster a Private Merritt A. Smith, who enlisted at age 19 in Boonville, New York on December 16, 1861, during the American Civil War. According to his diary, Smith was born June 28, 1842. Census records indicate that he was the son of Julia Smith of Turin (Lewis County), New York. Smith notes himself a member of the regimental brass band, and Civil War rosters include a Merritt H. Smith who served as a second class musician in the band of the 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 3rd/1st Army Corps. No further information about Smith could be found.
The 97th New York Infantry (also known as the Conkling Rifles) was organized in 1861 with men recruited from Herkimer, Lewis and Oneida counties. It was mustered into U. S. service on February 18, 1862, under command of Colonel Charles Wheelock. The regiment saw its first action at Cedar Mountain on August 9. Among the battles in which it fought were Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Petersburg, and Appomattox Courthouse. The 97th New York was mustered out of service on July 18, 1865 near Washington, D.C.
0.1 Cubic Feet (1 folder)
This collection contains the American Civil War diary of Private Merritt Hager Smith of Company G, 97th New York Infantry, serving with the regimental quartermaster.
Source of Acquisition
The Merritt Hager Smith Diary was purchased by Special Collections and University Archives in 2008.
Existence and Location of Copies
Rights Statement for Archival Description
The guide to the Merritt Hager Smith Diary by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).
The processing, arrangement, and description of the Merritt Hager Smith Diary commenced and was completed in July 2008.
- Merritt Hager Smith Diary, 1863
- John M. Jackson, Archivist
- 2008 (CC0 1.0)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository
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