1864: Thomas J. Robinson to James Hall Smith

This letter was written by Thomas Robinson [or Robison] (1833-19xx) who enrolled with Co. E, 128th Indiana Regiment on 1 November 1863 and was mustered in on 12 January 1864. Thomas was later arrested for desertion, courtmartialed and sent to the 9th Indiana Regiment from which he deserted. I found that Thomas originally served in Co. H, 9th Indiana Infantry (three months’s unit) early in the war and then apparently reenlisted in Co. E of the reorganized 9th Indiana Infantry in September 1861 only to desert 6 weeks later.

In the 1850 US Census, Thomas is enumerated as a 16 year-old “farmer” in his mother’s household. Her name was Ann Robison (age 62). He had six siblings ranging in age from 27 to 15. The family’s residence was in Porter township, Porter county, Indiana.

Thomas wrote the letter to James Hall Smith (1839-1909), the son of John W. Smith (1808-1877) and Electa A. Jackson (1810-1864) of Boone township, Porter county, Indiana.

TRANSCRIPTION

[Loudon, Tennessee]
March 10th 1864

Well Jim, I thought I would write you a few lines to you to let you know how I get along. I am well at present but I can’t get to my regiment yet and I don’t know what they will do with me. I wish they would send me to my regiment for I am seeing hard times. I have been four weeks without anything to sleep on and nothing to put over me and live on quarter rations. I am at Loudon in Tennessee.

Please tell Mother that I am well and I will write to her as soon as I get my sentence.

Well Jim, you must excuse my bad writing for my hand is so lame that I can’t write.

— Thomas Robison

to James Smith

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