FROM RICHARD SHEAFE SMITH
Undated [January 1811?]
Honoured father and mother, this comes with my kind love to you both, hoping this will find you both in good health as it leaves me at present, thank God for it, and it gave me great pleasure that you was so comfortably. For your son William sent me word in [h]is letter what you was better of and lived comfortabler than ever we know you in our lives. Well nothing in the world could give me so much pleasure for to hear honoured father & mother. Oft times I have you in my thoughts exactly when I ham [sic] on guard and on sentry, night watching of the enemy’s sentries, you are always uppermost in my mind father and mother. I know I have being an ungrateful son to you, for I ought to be with you to assist you in your old days, but I still live in hopes that I shall come home to see all you again and be comfortable with you. In regard to the wars, I suppose you know more about that than I due [sic]. We lye within a mile of the French but at moment we are respectable hear [sic] as you are there at home, for they never interrupt us nor we them. I believe the French very bad off for provisions, for I hear that they seldom get any bread, but are obliged to get Indian corn and boile it and beat it between tow [sic] stones and so they gets every sort of corn or rubbidge and make burgue  with it, and that is the only way they have. I believe they are very short of meat and I hear they are obliged to kill their horses for thei men to heat [sic] and indeed I hear that they are very misrabell [sic] of everything and I really think, they often some thinks that they will give themselves up as prisoners of war and if they do not, we shall have a very sharp battall sum wehre about Abrantes in the course of 3 or 4 months, when the wether [sic] gets so that men can lye out of doors. The wether now to[o] cold, but the wether is as warm hear now as it is in England in April. The we season is not come in yet, but we expect it very soon. Father in the next letter please to send me word how you gain your living, for my brother says you due but a verey little on the seat. For I oft times think to myself what the duce you can due for your living when you due but little on the seat. I due think one thing and I think another and I cannot makest out. But my brother says you are verey well off so that is sufficient. So no more at moment from me, your I ham [sic] ashamed to say dutyfull son. Richard Sheafe Smith
How to direct to me – For Richard Smith, Captain Parke’s Company, 3rd Regiment of Foot or Buffs, British army, Portugal.
1 – Burgoo was a stew made of whatever was to hand.