Ruth Smith found the following letter in 1954 in a plain box in the attic of a boarding house in Montgomery that was being renovated to make a parsonage and chapel for the Church of the Nazarene. Although she could not read it very well, she realized it was probably important, and kept it. In early 2001, she gave the letter to her son Phil, who shared it with a friend, Daryl Smith (no relation) of Spokane Washington. Daryl deciphered the letter and has permission of the family to share it. A search is on for descendants!
Thursday May 28th 1863.. Camp Carusi VA.. Friend Fanny your kind and welcom letter is at hand I am well & hope this may reach you the same our boys are all well you rote me more news in your letter than I have recd since I came out here from any one & them are the kind I like or any solger old Stone wal Jackson is ded I think & I am glad of it Captain Moseby has had his arm shot most off I have seen his sword it is very warm here now & very sickly what do they say about the draft or dont they say any thing about it I was in hopes they would get along with out any more men [p. 2] we are doing picket duty here now & it is very hard henry Shina is playing on his violin I shal hardly know Montgomery if their is such a change I think you will hav to wate a long time before Richmond will be taken well I shal be glad when my time is out & some of them Coper heds take my place & that time will soon come wont it I am glad they are going to fix the green up I hope I shal come back & help them do it whare is Albert Nuling I rote to him some time ago oh dear I cant think of much news to right only hard times & not much fun I must close good by right soon pleas excuse all mistakes yours respectfuly Wm Dwyer
William B. Dwyer volunteered from the town of Berkshire at the age of 23 and joined the Bakersfield company and was present at the organization of the company September 11 1862. If memory has not failed me he was a younger brother of Sergt. John H. Dwyer. He was mustered into the United States army October 10 1862 and went with the regiment to Washington; crossed long bridge into Virginia, October 30, and took part with his regiment in all its marches, camps, picket lines and battles until mustered out July 21, 1863. Was an obedient faithful, brave and loyal and valuable soldier. He won the respect of his officers and comrades and returned to his home with the honors of Gettysburg inscribed on his banner." (Source: Ralph Orson Sturtevant, "Pictorial History: Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers: War of 1861-1865," 642)
According to his service and pension records, William, age 23, was 5' 7 3/4", had a fair complexion, black hair and brown eyes. He was a blacksmith both before and after the service. Sometime prior to October 1890, he moved to Bitely, Michigan, and in December, to the Soldiers Home in Grand Rapids. He initially applied for a pension, citing rheumatism and general debility, in October, 1890, but died 7/5/1891 before completing the application process. There is no evidence he was married. (Source: Pension and Service Record, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC)
Henry Shiner was born in Montgomery, Vt., in 1841, and was by occupation a farm hand and common laborer. Volunteered in September and joined Company G of the 13th Regiment Vt. Vols. He like most of French descent, made good soldiers. He was good-natured, well disposed and reliable. There is no doubt but what there was good reasons for the camp rumor that he was passionately fond of fricassee chicken and of course Henry bought quite often a chicken or two from natives of the neighborhood of our camp. It is said Captain Williams and Lieut. Albert Clarke never investigated from whence the chickens and eggs came that so often appeared on their mess table. They satisfied their epicurean appetites and said not a word. The mere fact that Henry was of French descent removed all suspicion from him, though feathers were often seen in his tent, no dressed poultry ever found beneath his cotton tent he called home. He was a jovial, well-behaved soldier boy, made no trouble but plenty of fun. Camping and marching and outdoor life was his delight and declared he would like to see one good, big fight before he went home to Montgomery. He was in the line of march for seven long days and in the hottest battle of the war and secured his share of glory at Gettysburg. He was gratified and on return never tired of relating the gallant conduct of Company G boys in capturing cannon and General Pickett's brave soldiers. From best information Comrade Shiner died some years ago. (Source: Sturtevant, 645).
According to his pension and service records, Henry Shina was 5' 5", had a fair complexion, black hair and brown eyes. One document indicated his pre-service occupation was 'fiddler.' He contracted typhoid in November 1862, while the regiment was at Camp Vermont, near Hunting Creek, Va. After serving with the 13th Vermont, he enlisted again, as Henry Shiner 4/3/65, was assigned to the 8th Infantry, Co. F, and was discharged 6/28/65. After the war he was employed as a sash & door & butter tub maker. He was married to Mary Cushman/Cushing (see both ways in multiple documents) on 7/6/1867 in Richford, by the Rev. J. Letourneau. They had no children. Henry died 5/26/1885 of chronic diarrhea and rheumatism. His wife remarried, in Monterey, California, in 1915, at age 65; her 2nd husband, J. A. Wright, was 70; he died 7/8/1925. At some point she was incarcerated in a mental institution, Agnew State Hospital, Agnew, California, at which time she lost her pension, and was there on 5/16/1933 when she died. (Source: Pension and Service Records, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC; Hamilton Child's Gazetteer and Business Directory for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties, Vermont (1883))