This letter was written from—or the vicinity of—Frederick, Maryland, by Eleazur Hartley Smith (1833-1929) who enlisted as a musician on 3 October 1861 in Co. M, 1st Maine Cavalry. He was promoted to a corporal prior to his mustering out of the regiment in November 1864.
Eleazur—a farmer before his enlistment—wrote the letter to his wife, Sarah Crafts Strout (1839-1879. The couple were married in August 1856 shortly after her 17th birthday and resided in St. Albans, Somerset county, Maine, in 1860. They had two children, Flora (age 5) and Lillian (age 3) at the time of this letter.
[Note: This letter is from the personal collection of Jim Doncaster and is published by express consent. The image in the header is of the 1st Maine Cavalry in 1862.]
April 7 
I am as well as usual this morning. I shall have to send this letter to Washington by our captain as he is a going there today to get some ammunition. We have got almost out and we must have [more].
Our boys and one company of the 10th Maine has taken 9 rebel spies within the last 48 hours. They belonged to Ashby’s Cavalry. We think we are doing good business in that line. There was another regiment of New York Cavalry that came into the city last evening. I don’t know how long we shall stay here or where we shall go to if we leave here. I don’t know as I have any particular news to send—only I have seen the Capitol and White House and the public garden [green houses]. It is a sight worth seeing—to see oranges all ripe and flowers all [bloom] and within two feet of them snow laid on the ground.
Frederick, Maryland, is a very pretty place. It looks like a New England city. Its inhabitants resemble Maine more than any other place we were in. I like the looks of Georgetown very well but not so well as some other places.
I want you to keep up good courage as you can. I wish that I could send you and the children something. It seems as if I had ought to but I cannot at present. I am in hopes this war is almost to a close. Tell Flora to be a good girl and learn to read all she can and when I come home I will bring her something pretty. Tell Lillian to take good care of her little brother and be a good little girl.
If we were to stop here all summer I wish you were here. I never saw so pure air as it is on these hills. Give my love to all and keep enough for yourself. Tell all to write as often as they can. Direct at present to Washington D. C. as we are on the move and we can’t tell from one day to another.
Remember me in your prayers and excuse these few lines in love. From your husband, Eleazer H. Smith