CIVIL WAR LETTERS
Chauncey Austin Smith enlisted in the 111th NY Vol. Infantry, from Cayuga County on August 26, 1864, until the close of the war. During this time, he wrote many letters home, to his wife Fanny in Hannibal.
They are an interesting and historical account of the life and struggles of an everyday soldier during the civil war, filled with tales of their labor, danger, sufferings, and the loneliness for home. As Sandy wrote, "Some of his letters to Fanny and the kids were heart wrenching, you could just feel his missing them." After the war, Chauncey was very active in the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), and was often asked to speak at meetings.
These wonderful letters, the speech written by him for a GAR meeting,
and his family biography and photograph, was generously contributed by
Sandy Sharp, his ggg- granddaughter. Many thanks and appreciation
to Sandy, for all her hard work and effort to put this together and to
share this information with us. Sandy says that she is willing to
help anyone who might tap into this line.
CHAUNCEY AUSTIN SMITH
Chauncey Austin (Chancy) Smith was the husband of Fanny Palmeter and the father of (Adell), Clarissa, Grant, Nettie, and Charlotte. He was born in Lysander, NY on March 12, 1820, died in Sterling, Cayuga County, NY on December 23, 1893, and was buried in Hannibal, NY, Cemetery.
His parents were Deacon Harvey Smith (1785 - 1833) and Charlotte Drake (1788 - 1863), and his grandfather, Austin Smith II (1753 - 1846), was sergeant in the Connecticut Line in the Revolutionary War, wounded at Monmouth, and received an honorable mention for bravery.
He enlisted in the Army from Cayuga County on August 26, 1864 when he was 44 years old. He had blue eyes, light hair and complexion and was 5'6" tall. He served in the 111th New York Infantry and was mustered out in Alexandria, VA on June 4, 1865. He wrote many letters home describing his experiences. (These were copied and typed by his grand daughter, Mae (Scott) Flynn (1891 - 1893), and give an interesting account of a common soldier's daily routine, opinions and perspective during the final year of the Civil War.) He was captured by the "rebs" but made a daring escape. For Chancy, his experience in the army was his life's greatest adventure. Many years later he wrote up his capture and escape in great detail and was very active in GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) affairs.
These (surviving letters and his later description of his war experiences to the GAR are reproduced below. Chancy wrote most of these letters hurriedly, with whatever writing material was on hand, and while seated on the ground. He tended not to highlight his sentences with punctuation, and his use of capital letters was irregular. Mae Flynn, in her transcription of the original letters, corrected some of the spelling and (over) punctuated in some cases. Rather than trying to go back to the original manuscripts, (The writing has faded to the point of illegibility on some of them), I have amended the punctuation, begun sentences with capital letters and further corrected spelling in an effort to render the letters more readable. However Chauncey's actual words, word order, and sentence structure have not been changed.
Joseph Henry Flynn, (Great grandson)
Re-Typed By: Sandra M. Sharp
Continue on to page 2: Brief History on the 111th NY Vol. Infantry
Continue on to page 3: GAR Speech by Chauncey Smith
Continue on to page 4: Letters # 1 - 10
Continue on to page 5: Letters # 11 - 20
Continue on to page 6: Letters # 20 - 31
Continue on to page 7: Family Biography of Chauncey A. Smith
Back to Oswego Military Page
1999 Sandy Sharp / Laura Perkins