Skip to main content

George Woodard and Gene Smith letters

Identifier: W-0112

Scope and Contents

This collection contains fifty-six letters; George Woodard wrote forty-four of them, all to his fiancee, Gene Smith. At times he addresses letters to Genie, and the envelopes are often addressed to E. E. Smith--her name was likely Eugenia. His letters show his love and devotion to Gene and allude to activities they shared during their courtship. He also discusses camp life and the campaigns he was involved in, including the battle of Corinth and the siege of Vicksburg. A letter written on April 26, 1863, includes a small, hand-drawn battle map of Vicksburg. Many of his letters discuss his love of the Union and his willingness to sacrifice his life for his country.

The collection includes six letters written from Gene to George; her letters are often humorous, but her handwriting is less legible than George's.

There are three letters written to Gene from three friends or family members: Olive Woodard (George's mother); Otis Woodard (most likely his brother); and Gus. She received these after George's death, in 1864 and 1865.

In addition, there are three death notification letters written in 1864, presumably received by Gene. The nurse who cared for him at the Gayoso Hotel hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, incorrectly dated her letter on predated letterhead as February 1, 1863. Her kind letter includes details of his death, which occurred the previous day. The hospital steward at Gayoso, Michael Cahill, wrote a letter, also incorrectly dated February 1, 1863, which discusses his death and the process through which his heirs could obtain his belongings and pay. His commanding officer and friend, Lieutenant S. C. McDowell, wrote her a kind and personal sympathy letter, correctly dated February 7, 1864.

Each letter includes a typewritten, brief summary. These were presumably supplied by the seller.


  • 1861 - 1865


Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

George T. Woodard (sometimes documented or referred to as Woodward) enlisted in the Union Army on September 8, 1861, according to the Wisconsin Roster of Volunteers, War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. He enlisted in Company D, Eighth Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, at the rank of sergeant and was later promoted to first sergeant. His company was at times in Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Tennessee.

He died January 31, 1864, in Memphis, Tennessee, at the Gayosa Hospital after suffering from an illness. Two death notification letters, sent in February, were incorrectly dated as 1863.

Woodard was engaged to Gene E. Smith of Burnett, Wisconsin. Her name was presumably Eugenia; a few letters are addressed to "Miss E. E. Smith."


0.2 Linear Feet (fifty-six letters)

Language of Materials



Letters between Union soldier George Woodard, Company D, Eighth Wisconsin Infantry Regiment, and his fiancee Gene Smith, of Burnett, Wisconsin. Woodard served at the battle of Corinth and the Vicksburg Campaign. He died at a Memphis hospital in 1864.

Physical Location

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library, The University of Alabama


Gift of A. S. Williams III, 2010.


Title on spine: Woodard Letters

Processed by

Donnelly Walton, 2013



Guide to George Woodard and Gene Smith letters
August 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266