When Spencer McOmber and the 7th Michigan Cavalry left Grand Rapids for active duty in northern Virginia, they immediately saw combat in several battles and skirmishes. That was in early July 1863. By the end of the month, and through the month of August, the unit had been assigned to picket duty and saw no action. It left Spencer with plenty of time to write.
Four letters survive from August 1863. All are lengthy and provide many details about McOmber’s daily life. Some provide surprising bits of information about fraternization between Union and Confederate troops and between soldiers and civilians. As summer winds down, a relatively calm routine has settled over Spencer’s life. Not surprisingly, he still wishes he could be home.
- Follow McOmber’s August letters to be posted on August 8, 2013, August 15, 2013, August 24, 2013, and August 30, 2013.