Sgt. William Jasper Srofe, Company K, 48th Ohio Infantry. Later promoted to 1st Lieutenant. He wrote this letter home:
Near Pit[t]sburg Landing, Tennessee
April 4th, 1862
I take the present opportunity of informing you that I am well at present hoping these few lines may find you enjoying the same blessings. All the boys are well from New Hope and vicinity. There has been nothing of any great importance occurred since my last letter I believe.
On yesterday morning our brigade (including the 48th, 70th, & 72nd Ohio Regiments) was ordered to march with one days rations in our haversacks & without baggage. We were soon formed & was on a march. We marched about 3 miles & came to a halt. Company A of the 70th [Ohio] Regiment & Company A of the 72nd [Ohio] were ordered out in advance as skirmishers. We were then called to attention & marched about 3 miles further when we again came to a halt & Company K of the 48th (our company) & Co. B of the 72nd were ordered in advance as skirmishers (the former companies having taken a different road). Our boys all appeared pleased to have the honor. We marched about 2 miles in advance of the Regiment or Brigade when we halted at a small creek & filled our canteens with fresh water (we numbered about 125 men in all under the command of Major [James S.] Wise of the 48th & Maj. [Leroy] Crocket of the 72nd. The 2 majors appeared to be very brave for they rode from 2 to 3 hundred yards in advance all the time.
They halted at a house in center of a field when they saw about 30 rebel cavalry in covering of woods. Major [James S.] Wise rode back to the brigade for another detachment but Major [Leroy] Crocket remained at the house close to the man & children to keep the rebels from firing at him but as they saw us marching up, they fired on him without respect to the woman & children. But we were there in time & opened fire upon them, their balls whistling over us but was too high to do any harm. The Major ordered us not to waste our ammunition but to fire when they saw an object.
The Rebels had run; cracky how they run. I had to laugh after they had fled to think how they spurred their horses. We then fell back to the brow of the hill. To keep them from out-flanking us, we deployed taking intervals of 3 paces. We sat down all watching for the rebels but Maj. Wise came up in due time with another detachment so the rebels concluded that they had better let us alone. We did not follow them for it was no use — we being infantry & they cavalry — nor did we go to see if we killed any of them. In about 10 minutes after the firing, the long roll was heard to beat [over] in the rebel’s camp. Our company & Co. B of the 72nd [Ohio] acted as the rear guards, being 4 hundred yards in the rear of the brigade & deployed in groups of four, taking intervals of 20 paces. We got back into camp about 6 o’clock in the evening making about 14 miles we marched in 7 hours. The boys all took it very cooly as much so as could be expected. ¹
We have a rumor today of an armistice for 30 days – no guns to be fired on either side for 30 days. If this be so, it will give the rebels a good chance to fortify at Corinth. I think if they are going to fight any more, why do we not march on? We have enough men here to whip them certain.
Well it is dinner and I am tired of writing & must close. Ever remaining your affectionate son, — W. J. Srofe
Still address me at Paducah, Ky. In care of Capt. Peterson, Co. K, 48th Regt. O. V. U.S.A.
You must excuse my many mistakes in writing on the wrong side of the paper. I would like for you to send me some postage stamps if you please.