Shopping cart

“We Have It Damn Hard Out Here”

The Civil War Letters of Sergeant Thomas W. Smith, 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry

Civil War Era

DescriptionTold in his own words, this is the story of Sgt. Thomas W. Smith’s service in the Civil War—the greatest adventure of his life. It is also the story of his regiment, the 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, known as Rush’s Lancers, named both for the distinctive wooden lances they carried for the first two years of the war and for their first commanding officer, Col. Richard H. Rush.

These letters provide rare insight into the workings and daily life of a noncommissioned officer. They are filled with humor and humanity and demonstrate the hardships withstood by the common soldier of the Civil War. The added narrative and annotations assist the reader in identifying the persons and events described and in placing them in the proper historical perspective and context.


Eric J. Wittenberg is a lifelong Philadelphia Phillies fan and native of southeastern Pennsylvania. Having grown up in the early 1970s, he understands losing baseball teams. He is a lawyer in private practice and an award-winning Civil War historian. He and his wife Susan reside in Columbus, Ohio, where he struggles to follow his beloved Phillies.