An incredible Confederate journal:
“Lincoln’s ‘Great Armada’ is South of Charleston… Our command fought & retreated from Corinth to Vicksburg, where they were finally driven to the humiliating, as well as destructive necessity of surrendering themselves to the enemy…”
674. (Confederate Diary.) Choice bound journals of Private Rufus L. Hughes who served throughout the entirety of the Civil War. Hughes enlisted in the 2nd Alabama Volunteers, Magnolia Regiment, in 1861 and later served in the 42nd Alabama Infantry which saw action at Corinth and was part of the garrison that surrendered at Vicksburg in 1863. The regiment later saw action at Chattanooga and Atlanta. The lot consists of two 8 x 12″ journals: one covering his service from August 26, 1861 through his return home in May of 1865; the other containing excerpts of poetry and prose admired by Hughes as well as a complete roster of the original members of the Magnolia Regiment 2nd Alabama Volunteers noting who died in action and other biographical information. The diary consists of approximately 225 pages of which 175 have been filled in. Hughes, a recent graduate of the University of Alabama, is quite literate and well-spoken and his journal gives an excellent account of life in a coastal fort in Mobile Bay as well as an excellent account of the long road home after he surrendered with Joseph E. Johnston at Greensboro, N.C. The journal reads in small part: “…[Fort Morgan, Aug. 31, 1861] Several Yankees come over on a small sail vessel under a flag of truce from the U.S. Steamer Wyandotte who is the blockading vessel of this fort. Their business was with Col Maury, and must have been very private, for he has not divulged it to his men… [Fort Morgan, Sept. 23, 1861]…This morning there are three large vessels — two steamers & some sail vessel — in sight. They all seem to be very large. I do not understand so many being posted out there at the same time…[Oct. 4, 1861] …(‘Camp Maury’) was fired upon by the blockade vessel, The Mississippi: She fired about twenty shells — all busted well, but not come near the battery. Our Co. was ordered to report there immediately… Col. M. determined on having some rifled cannon there immediately. So by night he had one there — taking it from the fort — a distance of two miles, through heavy sand… [Oct. 30, 1861]…The small schooner which ‘ran the blockade’ for Cuba from Mobile some two or three weeks ago came in this morn, after successful ‘running the blockade’ again last night. She brought 360 sacks of coffee, & some cigars, besides some important messages from our Consul in Cuba to President Davis… [Nov. 5, 1861]…Lincoln’s ‘Great Armada’ is South of Charleston, down on the Georgia Coast…[Nov. 7, 1861]… I have been reading a novel, styled, ‘The Planter’s Northern Bride.’ It is a splendid Southern work by Mrs. Lee Hentz. It strongly approves of slavery…[Dec. 28, 1861]…Genls’ Bragg & Withers are over this morn. It is the first time I ever saw Bragg. He is a tall man, & looks to be about fifty years old…[Feb. 22, 1862] [Col.] Maury issued orders this afternoon prohibiting all spirituous liquors from coming here unless by order of the surgeon.. Just to think! Yesterday he was drunk, and today issues such an order!…[Feb. 23]… Today Col. Powell came over and placed Maury, Bradford & Forney under arrest for being drunk a few days since…[Mar. 30, 1862]… left Fort Gaines… Were ordered to Corinth Miss. We left Mobile on the 6th March… in common box cars & quite a rough time… We arrived at Fort Pillow about 1 O’clock A.M. on the 19th Inst…[Sept. 10, 1862]…marching orders for us. We are ordered to leave here for Tupelo tomorrow night on the cars…” The journal then skips a year (to the day) with the following summary: “…In having been twelve months today since I last wrote in this book…I have undergone more hardships…more privations than I had any idea I was capable of bearing — Our command fought & retreated from Corinth to Vicksburg, where they were finally driven to the humiliating, as well as destructive necessity of surrendering themselves to the enemy… Never will I forget the horrible feeling caused to come over me when I saw our position – one in which we took so much pride on account of its strength…” He then goes on to mention the comrades he lost at Corinth and Vicksburg. The journal then skips ahead to April 26, 1865 where he writes: “The Army of Tennessee was today surrendered by that gallant old Chieftain Jos. E. Johnston, to Gen. W. T. Sherman U.S.A. The fall of the Virginia armies occasioned the fall of our Army– . These two armies — once as good as the world ever saw- were the props to the Confederacy, & with their fall our Country was doomed to ruin– Sad is the thought! but we have spent four years — long & tedious years — for naught, & the amount of blood and treasure we have expended has been immense. We now have nothing but darkness, ahead of us- Gloomy! Gloomy!! is our future! but He who decides the fate of bullets knows what is best, and it is his will that we should be a subjugated people, and we would humbly ask of him to give us resignation, with a feeling that it is all for the best.'” The diary then makes note of his travels from North Carolina back home to Alabama recording various incidents along the way, including reports that “…The Yankees had captured Presd. Davis — We are not disposed to credit it…” Upon arrival at Tuscaloosa, Alabama “…we saw the buildings of the Old University lie smoldering in ashes — The work of an invader’s torch…” Much more fine content. Pages and binding bear the expected wear and tear common to field-carried journals, but overall the pages are quite legible and fairly clean. Never on the market, this record was consigned by the author’s great, great, grand-daughter! (Est. $3,000-5,000)
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Union soldier diary including note of Lee’s surrender… nonchalantly reporting news of “olde Abe’s” assassination.
675. 1865 Union soldier’s pocket diary written by Sgt. John C. Doty, Co. G, 122nd New York Vols., from Jan. 1, 1865 through July 4, 1865. This leather-bound diary has three dates per page and totals 61pp. completed by Doty. Describes Grant’s last drive to capture Lee’s army during the Appomattox campaign, and of the daily events of the movements of the Union army after winning the war. In 1862, at age thirty-five, Doty enlisted for three years service. He served with the Army of the Potomac’s 6th Corps, participating in battles such as Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and in Sheridan’s 1864 Valley campaign. Doty died in 1898 as a result of exposure endured during the War. Partial transcript: “…[Jan 2]…I went on picket. All quiet on hole line…[Jan 29]…I was sergeant of Brigade guard…[Feb. 5]…had orders to pack up and be ready to move at early morning. 5th Corps cavalry and 2nd Corps went to [the] left on raid. Heard heavy cannonading at 5pm…[Feb. 8]…our troops established our line on the left of 2nd Corps…[Feb. 20]…firing on picket line at night. [A] lot of Johnies came in…[Mar. 3]…I went over to the 9th [N. Y.] Heavy [Artillery]…[Mar. 7]…I had detail on fatigue at Fort Fisher. Seward and Gov. Fenton of N. Y. visited us…[Mar. 8]…got my sergeant’s warrant…[Mar. 8]…went over to Corps headquarters…and got some pictures taken…[Mar. 15]…we was reviewed by Gen. Meade…[Mar. 23]…awful windy all day…blow so hard. Blew up large trees…Col. Dwight came back and [so did] Lieut. Col. Walpole…[Mar. 25, battle of Fort Stedman, Petersburg where Lee’s last attempt to break the Union siege failed]…rebs attacked our works on [the] left. Heavy firing at 5 AM. Our Div. Charged the enemy’s works in front of Ft. Fisher. Half moon battery had an awful fight. Col. Dwight got killed with a shell. We took rebs works of pickets…charged at 3 PM…[Mar. 26]…a little picket firing in morning…[Mar. 27]…our regt fell in at 4 AM marched out to picket line. Rebs drove in a few of our pickets…[Mar. 29]…our regt went out to picket…got orders to pack up at 9 AM. We packed up and struck tents…did not move. Sheridan and 5th Corps and 2nd Corps moved off to left…[Mar. 30]…big battle going on. I went over to 9th Heavy in evening…[Apr. 1]…our regt fell in and marched out to picket line and charge line…[Apr. 2, the fall of Petersburg]…at 4 AM our Corps charged the reb[‘s] main works and took them. Then such a skedadle. We took everything clear to Petersburg. Took piles of prisoners and cannon and at night sent out on picket…[Apr. 3]…at daylight our picket line advanced clear through the town. The rebs left in the night. We took possession of the city. Then the whole army marched on, to the west about 11 miles…[Apr. 4]…started at 7 AM. Marched 5 miles and halted…[Apr. 6]…started at 6 AM…enemy made a stand at east Sailor Creek…charged them off a large hill. Routed them. Took a pile of prisoners. Bob Lee’s son and Gen. Ewell…[Apr. 7]…halted at Farmville on the RR…camped on the hill above the town…had skirmish above town…[Apr. 8]…moved out. Our Div went on wagon road…[Apr. 9]…started at 5 AM. Run the rebs right through. Halted at 3 1/2 PM near Clover Hill. Gen. Lee surrendered the whole army at 4 PM. Such a noise never was heard before. Cannon firing. We put up tents…[Apr. 10]…cavalry guarded the rebs. Rainy all day…[Apr. 11]…started at 6 AM on the back road…halted at 4 PM at Concord Bridge, 20 miles…[Apr. 13]…halted 2 miles beyond Burksville station…[Apr. 16]…I went down to station got ram rod. The news came to us that olde Abe was shot. Day closed fine…[Apr. 20]…news came that Jo Johnson had surrendered to Sherman…[Apr. 23]…moved from the rail road towards Danville…[Apr. 25]…crossed the river on pontoon bridges. Passed through Mount Laurel at 11 AM…[Apr. 27]…our regt ahead of everything. Got to Danville at 10 AM…our Co. guarded the bridge and arrested all stragglers. Our brigade took possession of the town…[Apr. 28]…detailed out of our regt on guard house…[May 5]…I was detailed on provost duty and went on parole at night. I went and see a nigger dance. Most fun I ever see. Niggers around all night…[May 10]…I went on picket at the river where the rebel magazine blew up…[May 16]…3 Div. Went by RR to Richmond…[May 20]…we broke camp …got on the cars…for Richmond. Ran over a nigger at the second station and killed him…[May 21]…went into camp 2 miles from town on the Petersburg pike…[May 22]…I went over to Richmond. Went to the Capitol. To Libby Prison, Castle Thunder, Jeff Davis House and all over the city. Rained at night…[May 24]…we started for Washington at 6 AM. Our Div. Passed through Richmond at 10 AM…[May 25]…Old Getty got drunk. Got on wrong road. Went 5 miles out of the way…good many men died on the road [May 27]…the wagon train got stuck in mud. It did not come up till night…[May 28]…our brigade packed up and started…for Fredericksburg. Left the balance of Corps in camp…[May 29]…marched into the city…3 Co. of our regt and picked up stragglers and kept them under guard…[June 2]…went into camp…on the Alexandria and Leesburg Railroad…[June 7]…cleaned up for review and had inspection at night…[June 8]…had reveille at 3 AM. Fell in at 4. Marched to Washington arrived at 8. Formed near [the] Long Bridge. Marched down Penn Avenue in review. Reviewing stand at White House. Reviewed by President Johnson. Awful hot. Lots [of] men sun stroke [and] died. Got to camp 3 PM. Men all tired out…[June 15]…9th Heavy left for the fortifications. We got some Sanitary stuff…[June 16]…Niles Rodgers died and was buried at Arlington Heights [Cemetery]…[June 17]…had brigade dress parade at 7 PM. Drummed 3 men out of camp…[June 22]…officers all had a drunken row most all night…[June 23]…Maj. [Alonzo] Clapp died at 11 AM. We sent his body home. Our regt got mustered out of US service in evening. Regt went over to serenade Gen. Hamlin torch light procession…[June 24]…started for Washington…I rode in an ambulance…got to Baltimore…left at 6 PM on the Northern Central RR. Had a smash up. 3 cars smashed. No one hurt…[June 25]…broke the engine 10 miles from Williamsport. Got to Elimra at 1 o’clock in night. Lay in cars till morning…[June 27]…had a big reception and a big dinner. Met [my] wife there. I came home on [the] train…”. Most of his grammar has been corrected in the above transcript to aid the reader. Very minor toning, else very good. A great eye-witness record. (Est. $2,000-3,000)
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Carolina Legislator writes a friend
while serving in Orr’s Rifles.
676. Confederate Soldier’s letter, 3pp., 7.5 x 9.5″, Sullivan’s Island, S.C., Oct. 15, 1861 written by politician-turned-soldier Zackey Pullman of Co. A. of Orr’s Rifles. A crack unit, Orr’s Rifles saw more than its share of hard service. For example, it lost 59% of its 537 effectives at Gaines Mill, took 116 casualties at Second Manassas and 170 at Fredericksburg and then another 49% of it’s remaining strength at Chancellorsville. In this exceptionally well-written letter, Pullman, also a South Carolina legislator, writes his friend about the complication of serving in the army while also serving as a legislator: “…With reference to my seat in the legislature… I had prepared my resignation… after the appearance in the Charleston papers of the Governor’s card and the opinion of the Attorney General accompanying it, but … the Speaker… said he was unauthorized by law to interfere in the matter, that the legislature itself was the exclusive judge of the qualification of its members… My opinion is that all persons holding office in the Confederate service are constitutionally disqualified and that our seats will be vacated… Our Captain is quite sick… I am half the time in command of the company and I am getting tired of playing Captain without receiving any of the honors… the Gordon has run the blockade and is safe at sea with Slidell & Mason. We would like to re-enact the New Orleans feat at this place… If we can only get in gunshot of them we will pepper them as did the Orleans boys…” Pullman’s assumption that Mason and Slidell eluded the Union blockade was premature, for upon reaching Havana they transferred to the British ship, Trent and were seized on the high seas on November 7, nearly bringing about war between the United States and Great Britain. Usual folds, otherwise fine condition. (Est. $200-400)
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677. His brother languished in a Confederate prison. Letter-of-introduction on behalf of George Ely, brother of New York Congressman Alfred Ely, who had the misfortune of being captured at First Bull Run, even though just a spectator! Alfred Ely remained in Rebel prisons for six months until exchanged. It is likely George went to Washington with letters such as this to partly engineer his brother’s release… while looking for a patronage job! ALS from George DAWSON (1813-83), New York journalist born in Scotland, protege of the great Thurlow Weed. Editor and publisher of numerous daily papers including the influential Albany “Evening Journal,” postmaster of Albany 1861-7. December 7, 1861, to Sec. of State W.H. Seward, in part: “I have not known of his political action of late; but he has friends whom we all know — being the brother of Alfred Ely, now unfortunately a prisoner…” A fun association piece! (Est. $150-200)
678. Scouting report just received – forwarding intelligence. ALS, Headquarters, U.S. Forces, South Carolina, July 21, 1863, from Col. W.W. H. Davis of the 104 PA Vol. to Major E. W. Smith, Assistant Adjutant-General, Tenth Army Corps. Davis writes: “Major: I have just received the report of Captain (True) Sanborn, Jr. commanding the advanced picket on the island opposite Secessionville, who states that his line is unbroken, & that there are no indications of an advance of the enemy from that quarter. I learn, however, from the soldier who brings in the report, that the enemy were seen this morning moving, in the direction of Charleston, what had the appearance of light artillery. The teams of six horses were distinctly made out. I thought it advisable to communicate this for the information of the brigadier general commanding. W.W. H. Davis” Tipped into a larger sheet, some areas of damp stain. (Est. $150-200)
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679.George McClellan 1864 Presidential campaign letter. 3pp., September 1st, 1864, written from Mansfield, Ohio by Joel Myers to his cousin. Good content regarding the nomination of McClellan for President and the draft for the ongoing Civil War, in part: “There is but little excitement here about the draft. Our city is out, and has a few to spare… Some of our townships are out too, our township paid four thousand five hundred dollars for ten men yesterday, and so filled their quota… Does McClellan’s nomination give good satisfaction to his party with you? Or do some of them bolt him? Will any Republicans vote for him?” A fine content letter pertaining to the bitter Presidential election between Lincoln and McClellan. (Est. $100-150)
“…I should rather have God destroy us all…”
680. [Election of 1860] Manuscript letter, Jackson, Louisiana, October 18, 1860, from a Southern Unionist favorable to the election of John Breckinridge. This letter discusses the tense political climate of the times and the upcoming presidential election. “Soon the storm is on shore, masts will lean over & Breckinridge [illeg.] fearlessly at the helm of our glorious Republic. Let Douglasites, Bell & Lincoln hounds say & think as they please. God rules; alas, erring, vain, ambitious and haunted mortals…Breckinridge will be elected by the House as Douglas defeats the party by his cowardly conduct, which always, always before has like a bold band of brothers stood shoulder to shoulder against the enemy, which would deluge this glorious union in anarchy & strife…when John C. Breckinridge is president I shall triumph in hearing though God will only know my souls joy…Bell is a sectionalist… Everett is a blue stocking, only fit to rule New England although it is the land of my sires. Douglas is not fit to be president of slaves & Lincoln is [illeg.]…I should rather have God destroy us all at once than he should succeed….Those who raise their voices against this union ought to be hung up higher than John Brown was… This is what I wish someone would do with all disunionists…” The writer of this letter thought, like many others, that Lincoln would fail to get the necessary majority of electoral votes, thereby forcing the election into the House of Representatives, where John Breckinridge had a distinct advantage. If that had transpired, the Civil War may well have been averted, at least for a time. Letter has usual folds with very minor separation. The handwriting is clear and distinct, but rather hard to decipher. Southern letters dealing with the presidential election of 1860 are rarely encountered. (Est. $100-150)
Emotions run high following the Fall of Sumter.
681. An amazingly early war-date 4pp.., Philadelphia citizen’s letter, April 15, 1861, 11 1/2 a.m., concerning a near riot at the newspaper office of the Palmetto Flag in Philadelphia, in part: “…the news of the surrender of Fort Sumter is confirmed. The secession flag now waves over its ramparts!!! The greatest excitement exists at the office the `Palmetto Flag’ Chestnut St. from Fourth 1/2 way down to Third is one dense mass of excited determined men! The men attempted to issue their poisonous sheet this morning. A crowd soon collected & threats were made of [?] whole office out & dealing summary punishment upon the traitors! They also run up the Southern Flag! This excited the mob & soon it was drawn in! I reached Chestnut St. Just as Mayor Henry (God bless him!) appeared at the window holding in his hand the `Stars & Stripes’. How much dearer are they now to my heart that they are threatened with disgrace & insult…the cheers…went up like the roar of cannon from the…multitude as this precious legacy so dearly won was waved from the office of this detested plague…the Mayor is now addressing the populace. I heard him say `So long as God spares my life treason shall not lift its head amongst us.’ There is but one sentiment now, party ties are lost and the people are determined to enforce the laws…written in great haste. I know your patriotic anxiety to hear the news…”. Minor toning with archival repairs at fold separations, else very good. (Est. $300-500)
682. An interesting, 3pp. folio, legal document from Pulaski County, IL, Feb. 22, 1866 concerning settling a war claim brought by Richard H. Warner against the US government. In part, demands are made for: “…20,000 brick used by the 7th, 18th, & 10th Regiment Illinois Vol. while encamped at Mound City… $100.00… [and] to rent of house used for hospital for 10th Reg. Ill. Vol from Jany. 1st 1862 until 12th Feby 1862…$34.50… know that the item for rent charged in the above warrant… is a reasonable charge…[and] personally appeared before the…acting Justice of the Peace…Timothy Booth contractor on Public Works and Palatine Steele [and] master brick layer…that the…lot of brick…were used as charged…”. A fascinating document that declared that the government owed $134.50 (plus interest!) for a bill that was nearly four years old. No doubt the Feds were addressing Civil War claims of this nature for at least a decade following combat! (Est. $80-120)
683. Two fascinating war-date letters written by an unidentified U.S. Congressman, 8 pp. in total, Washington, D.C., June 1862 & Sept. 1, 1863 to his daughter describing in great detail the appearance of the Congressman’s chamber, life in Washington, and of her being a good girl. The first letter appears on “United States of America, Thirty Seventh Congress” letterhead depicting a finely engraved view of the Capitol, in small part: “…above is…a picture of the Capitol of the United States at Washington where Congress meets. Congress is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Senators meet in one large room in one end of the building and the House of Representatives in a still larger room in the other end. These rooms are much larger than any church you ever saw…and handsomely furnished. There are large…galleries…around each room for…visitors…these are filled daily with gentlemen, ladies and little boys and girls…the members have each a little desk in front of him all arranged in regular rows…much as little girls are seated at school…when one makes a speech he stands up while the others keep their seats and remain silent…there are very handsome generals about the Capitol with a great many shade trees and beautiful flower gardens. Every Saturday evening about five o’clock a Band of Music goes there and plays…a great many…people assemble to hear them. Little girls & boys are there in great numbers and they run about and play in the grass…and seem very happy…[Sept. 1, 63]…you must want to return to Washington to see me. Go driving to the Soldier’s Home, Insane Asylum, Arlington House, Fort Albany and all the other pleasant drives we took…” Signed only as “Dear Father”, and worthy of further research. Near fine. (Est. $200-300)
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684. A war-date 4pp. home-front letter written by Jesse P. Livingston, Dansville, [N.Y.], Mar. 20, 1865 concerning the draft in New York State near the end of the Civil War, in part: “…about the draft…now there seems to be some difficulty in procuring the men for they are not as plenty as they were before the money was raised. I think they waited almost too long…now if they can not furnish their quota by volunteers then the draft will have to come money or not. Some say there is about nine hundred…this district has an unusually large quota to fill because under the last call they were mostly all one year men…[Pvt.] Alfred Van Wormer [43rd N. Y. POW Oct. 12, 1864] is home at present. He is a paroled prisoner from Libby Prison, Richmond. His parole is for thirty days…I guess Jeff Davis or any of his crew will not catch him…again…”. Some soiling, else very good. (Est. $100-200)
685. Penciled poem, 3pp., by Union soldier Pvt. Philip Livingston, Co. A, 121st Ohio Volunteers, entitled: “When Sherman Marched down to the Sea.” (Dedicated to Sherman’s victorious March.) In part: “Our camp-fires shine bright on the mountain…while we stood by our guns in the morning…watched for the foe. When a horseman rode out from the darkness…and shouted `Boys, up and be ready for Sherman will march to the sea…cheer upon cheer for bold Sherman…then forward boys! Forward to battle! We marched on our wearisome way…we stormed the wild hills of Resaca. God bless those that fell…then Kennesaw stark in its glory… frowned down on the flag of the free…when Sherman marched down to the sea…onward we pressed till our banners swept out from Atlanta…the traitor’s flag falls…and Sherman marched down to the sea. Proud…was our army that morning that stood by…[and] then Sherman said `Boys you are weary…Savannah is mine!’ Then we sang a song for our chieftain…”. Livingston survived the campaign, and the war, and was discharged on June 19, 1865. Sometime after his experiences he penned this poem. Some spotting, else very good. (Est. $200-300)
Excellent Civil War letters with content.
686. [Group] Six (6) Union Soldiers’ letters, some on patriotic stationery, and at least one with battle content. Of note is a letter written four days before the fall of Yorktown during McClellan’s abortive Peninsular Campaign, by Elbert Corbin of the First NY Artillery, May 1, 1862: “…Two Secesh Prisoners came in to day and they say that there was a whole Brigade lay down their arms day before yesterday saying they would not fight any longer against their country. The 69th N.Y. from our brigade was out on picket duty and they had their flag (the Harp of Ireland) which is a beautiful one. They, the Irish brigade of Rebeldom, said they would never fire on the flag of their country – and now they have them confined in Yorktown. How true it is remains to be seen. There is a heavy gun on the right breaking the stillness of this beautiful May day — May first — beautifully May. One month has passed to day since we were leaving Warrington Junction…Now we lay here before Yorktown… I was at Cheisman landing the other day and they were unloading some United States Peace makers. 10 of them were mortars measuring 45 inches acrost the muzzle… the bore was 15 in. carrying a ball weighing 230 lbs…. This is one of the most out landish, low lifed countries that is on Continent. I tell you that this country has become so filthy that the woods are full of all manner of varmins and are full of wood ticks and one cannot touch a bush but they get onto him. I have found five or six on me to day…” Another letter written by “Henry” at Fort Jackson Nov. 25, 1861 notes making a trip to Mount Vernon where they collected “a few curiosities…” He goes on to describe Alexandria: “…it would be a pretty place if it did not have that neglect so common with southern cities. They do not take care of the streets that the northern people do, they allow the hogs to run at large. You will see them laying round any where. This city is probably one of the oldest in Virginia. The buildings show this some of which I should think stood in the time of the flood… The Marshal house where Col. Ellsworth was killed stands a monument to southern folly, it is strongly guarded to prevent its being destroyed. We went in with some others the guard showing us round. The stairs leading to the top of the house, where he was coming down with the Secession rag, are all carried away, and are probably scattered all over the north. I was determined to bring off something to which the sergeant of the guard had his back turned. I stooped down and with my knife chipped out a piece of he floor, near where he fell. The sentiment of the people here is decidedly secession, and they make no bones of explaining it. Nothing but the presence of the soldiers keep them from open rebellion. The Ladies are the worst. They wear secession colors…” More good content. Overall condition very good to fine with only the usual folds, otherwise very bright and clean. (Est. $500-700)
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687.“We are short of Coms & Non-Coms.” Obtaining provisions for his Company. Excellent 2pp. letter, August 15, 1863, New Berne, N.C., from Captain William L. Kent to Sergeant Dexter R Ladd, both of the 23rd Massachusetts volunteers. Kent writes: “Sergeant, Since you left here, it has occurred to me that you may find difficulty about getting the articles out here, which I authorized you to purchase in Boston for the use of my Company. I think you had best apply to Capt. McKinn, at #12 Faneuil Hall Square, for a written statement, giving permission to bring the articles out to New Berne for the use of the Company, in order to exempt them from seizure. Get transportation direct from Boston, if possible, about the time your furlough expires…You can show this letter as your authority if required… Corpl. Austin writes me that he is sick at Mason Hosp. Pemberton Sq. I wish you to call on him & see how he is & whether he will soon return. We are short of Coms & Non-Coms…” Together with a receipt for photographs from B.F Evans of Norfolk, VA. The receipt is made out to the same Sergeant Ladd who received the above letter. Two items. (Est. $100-200)
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688. Organizing A Company of “Yankee Hunters.” A terrific LS of A. S. Hamilton who adds his rank as “Capt. Miss. Yankee Hunters”, 6 x 7.25″, Jackson, Miss., August 11, 1861 in which he certifies “…that my company The Yankee Hunters is composed of (80) eight members, that (66) Sixty Six of said members have performed nine days military duty as required… That those who have performed the duty aforesaid are entitled to nine Dollars each… That no part of said money so due has yet been paid or drawn…” The verso bears several endorsements the last of which notes receipt of “…auditors Warrant no 620 for Five Hundred and Ninety four Dollars in full of the above claim… Sept 7, 1861…” Hamilton’s company of “Yankee Hunters” eventually became part of the First Mississippi Infantry and saw action at Fort Donelson and Shiloh. Left margin rough, very light toning at extreme margins, otherwise very good condition. (Est. $200-300)
689. Getting new guns! Letter written by Pvt. Henry Olds Battery C, 1st Ohio Light Artillery, Lookout Valley, Tenn., Apr. 10, 1864, 3pp., to “Friend Nathan” concerning his regiment getting new guns, in part: “…we are camped…in Lookout Valley near Chattanooga…we have been shooting, trying our new guns. We got twelve pound guns now. We have got so that we send the shells in pretty close…the report is that the Rebs are getting ready to try us. When we commence to advance…there will be fun…while we were at Bridgeport the snow fell one foot deep…”. Olds faithfully served throughout the war, and was discharged June 15, 1865 at Cleveland, Ohio. Soiling, else very good. A nice missive. (Est. $150-200)
690. The 4th NY at Hatcher’s Run. Union soldier’s letter, on U. S. Christian Commission letter sheet with small dove in the upper left corner, written by Pvt. Charles E. Cole 4th New York Hvy. Art. Co. L, Petersburg, [Va.], Feb. 8, 1865 concerning movements during the action along Hatcher’s Run, 2pp., in part: “…last Sunday we got marching orders to move to the left where they have been fighting all day long. At 8 o’clock p.m. we were all in line & off…for a fight…we marched 3 miles to the left & got orders to make ourselves comfortable…just [as we] got our tents up…it was pack up & be ready to move at a moments notice. At…dark we fell in line & off about 1 mile & back to camp…how is the Temperance Society get[ting] along…Sullivan’s band [is] down here & no Rudy Tudy in it. We have got a new colonel [John C. Tidball] in our Regt. he is a regular officer…direct to the 2nd Brigade instead of the 4th. Give my best respects to all the nice Girls…”. Cole uses a different middle initial than is listed in the Civil War Data base on the web, but research proves that this Cole belongs to the 4th N. Y. Hvy. Art. Minor soiling, else very good. (Est. $100-150)
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A fine letter describing the hardships Southern women faced!
691. Fine content ALS, November 14th [n.y.], n.p. [Virginia Peninsula]. During the American Civil War, life was as hard for Southerners at home as on the battlefield. On November 14, most likely in 1862, a Southern woman named M. Deans wrote her mother with news about her home life: “Except for a rumor through a Negro we know nothing of the doings at York…Negroes give information of all that transpires in Gloucester…Proper, about 3 weeks since, took away the remainder of his negroes…leaving only a few old ones, some escaped but he saved 90. He carried them toward North Carolina…soon after, his barn, full of wheat was burned at Summersville, the next night his Carpenter’s Shop. An old woman was seen running from the barn… Rebecca told the Negroes, if anything more was destroyed, that she would write to Proper to sell everyone of the 90. Mrs Griffith has lost all her servants but little children. Miss Sally lost but one man. Mr. J.W.C Catlett has lost all his…I had to dismiss the free girl…Alicia cleans up stairs…she is very slow and stupid…” Deans gave information to her mother on war events: “I told you of Major’s return…of the doleful account he gave of all at York…the discomfort…a gunboat…arrested Mr. Washington Smith & his broker because the latter had some share in the burning of a Yankee ship…Herbert…says he misses the excitement he has had for 18 months. Was in 3 skirmishes in one day in Md. & at the battle of Sharpsburg.” The battle of Sharpsburg, also known as Antietam, was the bloodiest single day in American history. McClellan and Lee’s troops fought to a standoff and Lee retreated the next night. The attractive letter is a fine reminder of the hardships of Southern women. (Est. $300-500)
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692. A touching war-date 1p., Union soldier’s letter written in pencil by “L. Wilson” Washington, June 19, `64 concerning the death of his brother Lt. Martin L. Wilson, Co. A, 122nd New York Vol. who was wounded during the battle of the Wilderness May 5, 1864, in full: “I have to inform you that Martin is dead. He died this morning at ten o’clock. Jane & I was both with him. I have got his body embalmed. It probably will be at Memphis Tuesday night then we shall prepare for the funeral. You will notify Edwin & perhaps you both can come. We start for home this evening…we have arranged to have the funeral Sunday at Ten o’clock the 25th…”. PLUS; 3 x 5″ ink inscribed note reading, in full: “Martin L. Wilson 1st Lieut., 122d Regt. N. Y. V. mortally wounded in battle of the Wilderness, Va. May 1864 died June 19, 1864 in Seminary Hospital Georgetown, Va. Aged 28 years. Here lies another of our mighty brave. Who gave us liberty and took a grave.” Some soiling and spotting, else very good. (Est. $150-200)
693.A former slave is duped out of his bounty by a corrupt claims agent. An interesting group of three post-war documents related to bounty due to Pvt. Sandy Blanton, Co. G, 4th United States Hvy. Artillery. The first letter, written by Cairo, Illinois Assistant Postmaster S. R. Hayes, Feb. 7, 1870 to the 2nd Auditor of the U.S. Treasury Department on behalf of Pvt. Blanton regarding his bounty, in part: “…I write you at the request of two colored men who were soldiering. They made their claims for Bounty & back pay in 1865 through Geo. H. Wood claim agent then at this place. Mr. Wood left here some 18 months ago & they can not hear from him & do not know whether their claims have been adjusted or not [their] names are Sandy Blanton & Ben Ross both members of Co. G, 4th Hy. Art. col’d…[on the verso of the above letter, Cairo, Il., July 22, 1870] is written “Sandy Blanton one of the claimants referred to…being a freed man when he was enlisted was told by Mr. Wood…the claim agent that he was entitled to the add’l. bounty…he was discharged on the 24th of Feb. 1866…if rejected he wishes to get back his discharge…”. The second document, is 1p. 4to., being the endorsement leaf for the above letter. The postmaster’s blood must have boiled when he read this endorsement, in part: “…Washington, D.C., July 27, 1870…respectfully returned with reply that add’l. bounty…were allowed Sandy Blanton April 6, 1868 by certificate No. 441, 669 ($113.). This soldier is reported on [the] rolls as a slave April 19, 1865 and is not entitled to the original bounty. Discharge Cert. [was] returned March 22, 1869…”. Then finally the proof that George Wood stole the money, 1p. 8vo., partly-printed letter on Treasury Department letterhead, [Washington], Feb. 15, 1870, concerning the government’s settlement of the claim with Claim Agent Wood years earlier, in part: “…the case of Sandy Blanton…was settled Apr. 6, 1868 and cert. No. 441, 669 for $113.00 sent to Geo. H. Wood Cairo, Ill…”. Worthy of further research to see if the unfortunate victim ever got his money. (Est. $300-500)
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694.Confederate letter written only nine days after the War starts, on the draft. ALS, 2pp., April 21, 1861, from Mary to her brother. She writes: “My dear Brother, Since I wrote you Civil War has commenced with all its horrors & the troops are leaving here daily… I will try to send you the paper & keep you posted. I am glad you are married & settled & that there will be no necessity for your going unless you are drafted. Let those who have brought the ruin on this country fight it out…” Great historic content. (Est. $150-200)
695. Long Confederate missive with tremendous content: “How wily my good friend General Lee is!” ALS, 12pp. with quite legible cross-writing, March 13, 1863, by a Southern woman, in very small part: “…The last attack of the monitors proved that Fort Sumpter was very vulnerable to those big guns. I see they have plenty of Georgians down there, so I know there will be some good fighting – and alas, plenty of blood spilled. Did my Miss Mary give a sigh to her former admirer Major General Reynolds? I expect the fall of Vicksburg has so worked her up…How wily my good friend General Lee is! He will not send a telegram unless he can announce a victory. I am more anxious about him, for he holds everything in his hands…” Much, much more. Some foxing and slight separation at usual folds, else quite fine. If you want content, this has it!
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696. McClellan and the Chicago Convention. ALS, 4 pp., September 9, 1864, Staten Island, NY, from Ellie Y. Perdy to Mrs. A. B. Underwood of Newtonville, MA. Together with postal canceled cover. In part: “…Very little peace is the lot of a soldier’s wife, that is certain. My only comfort consists in thinking the war must be over soon…We were all delighted, and set our flag flying with great enthusiasm. I rejoice the more in that it will put a stop to this abominable Copperhead peace party at the North. What do you all think of the nomination of McClellan for President on such a platform as that at Chicago? It is a disgrace to the country. There is one comfort, McClellan’s chance for the office is about as good as mine would be to reign in the White House. I am terribly excited about this election, I want the war to go on, I am for utterly crushing the rebels – Father and I keep getting General Butler’s splendid forcible words relative to the pursuing of the war: `Let the mower go on though the adder may writhe, And the Copperhead twine around the blade of the scythe.” Toning at usual folds, cover stained. (Est. $100-150)
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Political division – North and South… all leading to war. “The present division of parties in a national point of view is caused more by sectional considerations – politicians South of the Potomac will never support an administration if its head be taken north of that line.”
697. Exceptional 4pp. ALS, docketed as the retained copy of a letter written in 1827 to a William Thompson. The letter is unsigned, but the content shows the early dissent between Northern politicians and what the writer calls “the Politicians South of the Potomac.” The writer notes “that the party in power openly and daringly offered the old Federal Doctrine of `98 – that the people were `their own worst enemies’ and were not fit to be trusted with the power of choosing their presidential electors…I felt it became the duty of every man who wished to preserve the republican institutions of our country to exert himself to drive from power that party which has so daringly abused it…I do not like the present state of parties. It was much better in olden times when Republicanism and Federalism prevailed and constituted two distinct and respectable parties opposed to each other upon principle…Those times are past…they array themselves on the old motto of principles not men…If we owe obligations to anyone for producing this state of things, it is to Mr. Monroe…The present division of parties in a national point of view is caused more by sectional considerations…The politicians South of the Potomac will never support an administration if its head be taken north of that line…So long has the South been able to furnish some of the most pure and able statesmen of our country, her politicians claim the right to furnish the future presidents of the U.S. They seem to forget that they have no longer a Washington, a Jefferson, & a Madison but think, speak and feel and act as if the office of president was entailed to them…I now feel it a duty to sustain northern feelings and northern interests, we have much at stake. Our manufacturing are all in the North – the protecting arm of government is necessary to sustain them and the South is deadly hostile to them…” Much more content. A superb look at the sectionalism in the young U.S. that eventually would lead to Civil War referencing the Founding Fathers! (Est. $400-600)
Exciting times in New York City…
Col. Ellsworth and his Zouaves on the march just two weeks after the firing on Fort Sumter! The “dregs” of the City under Billy Wilson
will put down the Secessionists!
698. Historic content with eyewitness color makes this a tremendous missive! ALS, 3pp., minor loss at fold, New York, April 30, 1861, by Marc E. Sand to his brother Henry. He writes of tumult in New York: “I transcribe from my heart, for I have written it there with clenched teeth `the Union must and shall be preserved!!!! These are truly exciting times; New York appears like a vast camp, the streets are full of soldiers… Yesterday the `New York Firemen Zouaves’ Col. Ellsworth left in the Baltic. They are all picked men and look as if they would smash the Secessionists all to pieces. However the crack company of Zouaves are the Billy Wilson Zouaves of whom no doubt you have heard. They are the dregs of the city, which none of them try to conceal, but rather glory in it. Billy Wilson gave a speech the other day in which he asked: `Is there any honest man among you?’ A young man answered yes, for which he was turned out of the regiment…Brooklyn is by no means behind New York so far as patriotism is concerned…All these things are interesting to you, I know what you want, you want War War War, and nothing but War…” The Billy Wilson Zouaves were mustered in May 1861 for two years and were led by Col. William Wilson of Staten Island. Much more fine content. (Est. $400-600)
“They threatened to treat the woman just as the Negro was treated…” Charles Sumner’s legislative assistant writes of women hostages.
699. Remarkable ALS, 4pp., from Washington, January 5, 1864, from Frank V. Ball (assistant to abolitionist Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner) to his son George. He writes of Washington in part: “Only think what a list of generals we have in town now. Genl. Butler, Genl. Burnside, Schofield and half a dozen more. I wish Genl. Butler would call on Mr. Sumner so that I could hear him talk. I enjoy very much the conversation that I hear at his room. The foreign ministers drop in, but then they talk French so I don’t understand much of what they say. The other day Prof. Peck was here and told about the contrabands at Norfolk and the raid of Genl. Wilde with his colored troops into North Carolina. He mentioned…that the wife of one of the Captains of Guerrillas was taken and held hostage for a Negro soldier who was captured and it was supposed killed by the guerrillas. They threatened to treat the woman just as the Negro was treated…It seems to me horrible barbarous making war upon women in this way. Suppose they had burnt the negro would we therefore burn the woman?” Exceptional content. (Est. $150-250)
On great, illustrated lettersheet:
“We all look as red as if we were drunkards… there is no chance for a private to git a dram here” but “all of the officers got drunk.”
700. ALS, 4ps., Lexington, KY, December 7, 1862, on illustrated lettersheet picturing the great naval engagement off Fort Wright, together with postally canceled, illustrated cover picturing a view of the Capitol in D.C. From William Walker to his parents in Minerva, Ohio, in part (without correction to grammar or spelling): “…I was on camp gard last night. I went on yesterday at 8 o’clock and came of this morning. It rained the hole time like hell and thundered and lightened at a great rate. That was the busiest time that I have had on gard yet. Samuel Haynam came to see us, the 28 of Nov. We were just getting breakfast when he came to camp. He sed he had a big time to find whare we were. He give me one dollars worth of postage stamps and one box of tacks. He donlook like a soldier. His face is to pail. We all look as red as if we were drunkards but there is no chance for a private to git a dram here. We had general review last Friday… We were the best drilled, cleanest, had the cleanest tents and cleanest Camp. Our tent was not in our company and after all of this all of the officers got drunk and had a big time over it. The agitant came out on dress parade and he was so drunk that he could not read the orders. That is the way that it went. They say that we will stay all winter here, but I do not. Now there is prisoners coming in every few days… I was down to the station the other day to load crackers and coffee and sugar and I saw some express boxes there. Some of them were pitched out and bursted and the dam niggers cabbaged some cans of something or other and carried them off. I think if they would put hickory hoops around the boxes and then they would not be so many lost. I guess I must bring my letter to a close. We are all well at present and I reckon you have heard that the dammed old skunk of a Captain Coats has gone home. He filched us down here and now has left us with the dam little shit of a Lieutenant Southworth to galand us around…” A rather forthright letter, minor dampstain at margin, all quite legible. (Est. $250-300)
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“I don’t think there is any danger of the rebs ever taking this camp… The news from Grant’s army is glorious… The greatest lore of the campaign is the escape of John Morgan.” A fabulous letter.
701. ALS, 4pp., Camp Nelson, KY, November 30, 1863, on illustrated lettersheet picturing Gen. Franz Sigel in blue surrounded by a red frame, including posted cover with embossed eagle with 34 stars & “Union.” From “Bill” to his cousin Maggie, he writes, in part: “…Well Mag, since I wrote to you before we have changed our quarters to Camp Nelson six miles south of Nicholasville, Ky. I am very well satisfied with our present situation. This is the nicest country around here I ever saw except the little Maumee valley. The camp is surrounded on three sides by the steep bluffs of the Ky river and on the north side the fortifications are nearly completed. I don’t think there is any danger of the rebs ever taking this camp and if the war news is all true I don’t think they will ever try it. The news from Grant’s army is glorious and Burnsides is reported all right. The greatest lore of the campaign is the escape of John Morgan from the Ohio Penitentiary. I think he must have had some good friends in the Prison or some on the outside who were allowed to communicate with him.” Much more fine content on a beautiful stationery with postal-used envelope. Extraordinary. (Est. $400-500)
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On being an “old soldier,” a Reb attack, and the ’64 election. An extensive content letter.
702. ALS, 10pp., April 2, 1864, Washington, NC, from Jerome B. Baldwin of the 21st CT Regiment to his friend Ellery. In part:
“… for some folks might think that we had lost all self respect in the army seeing that we were old soldiers. To tell the truth they would say that we were badly demoralized. I know a very few of that stamp in the town of Mansfield. But Ellery, I expect to be some wilder than I used to be if it kills a cow. A fellow can’t stay in the army three years and come home exactly the same as he left it.” Later, he writes: “…Our Rgt. is in quite a different locality than when I last wrote you as you have doubtless learned of this. We are not doing picket duty on the banks… but we are situated on the Far River at a fort that bears the name of Jack Fort. Jack is a small fort mounting two guns for the defense of Washington. Our duty is not very hard at present, have nothing but picket duty to do, and drill once in a while on the guns in the Fort. The Rebs occasionally show themselves in this locality, but in small numbers. There will, I think, be no attack on this place or Newbern unless Richmond is evacuated and the Rebs fall back to N.C. and I don’t think that probable. We have been at this place about five weeks and we have about as good a time as we ever have had at any place in the Army.” Of local politics, he writes: “…I presume that as this letter reaches you, you will see some of the boys from this Co. Thirteen left for home yesterday to give Wm. A Buckingham a hoist, Geo. French among the number. I doubt very much whether they will arrive in the state soon enough to vote, but whether they do or not, I would like to be one of the party. There has been a continual cursing by some Seymour men in the Co. since they left and I don’t think it right myself to send home all Buckingham men, but I suppose if the Democrats were in power they would do the same so I suppose it is all right. I hope that Wm. A. will be elected for I think he is the man for the place. I suppose you will do all in your power to help elect him.” Much more great content in this quite lengthy letter. (Est. $300-500)
“My patriotism has been at fever heat ever since Fort Sumpter was bombarded…”
703. An interesting ALS, 4 pp., August 29, 1861 from Wallingford, VT to “Cousin Julia” from “E.” In part: “What wonderous changes have come over the land since I saw you! War, which was then hardly in perspective has now become a stern reality, and bids fair to be still sterner. My patriotism has been at fever heat ever since Fort Sumpter was bombarded, and as no alternative but fighting has been left us I want it done in good earnest. Such running as we had at Bull Run does not meet my views at all, but the comfortable home lives which our volunteers have led are not just the thing to make stern soldiers. I have no doubt of the courage of the men who have so readily responded to the call of their country’s danger, and we shall yet have reason to be proud of our volunteer soldiering. It is terrible to think of the scenes that must be enacted before this nation can sit in peace under the tree of liberty! God help us, for vain is the help of man! But I must not fill my letter with war and carnage though that is uppermost in my thoughts and often gives charecter to my sleeping visions…” Letter also mentions family and friends including those gone to war. A great missive. (Est. $150-250)
704. Four page Magnus lettersheet featuring two military maps and a depiction of Fortress Monroe in Virginia on the first page. Followed by an ALS, 3pp., written in 1861, with the first 2 1/2 pages in pencil and the remainder in ink. The letter, written in German, appears to have interesting content detailing the events of the day. A fine item!
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705. A Petition to Secretary of War John B. Floyd by citizens of Tecumseh, Kansas Territory to appoint Erastus B. Smith as a 1st Lieutenant in the regular army. The petition is dated October 8, 1858 when “Bleeding Kansas” was a battlefield between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces, both trying to sway popular support when the Kansas-Nebraska Act left the question of slavery in the territory to the popular vote. “One of the greatest rogues ever to serve in high position in both the U.S. and Confederate governments”, John Floyd was James Buchanan’s war secretary and was later accused of personal misuse of funds earmarked for the Indians. He was later a Confederate general. Erastus Smith later served D Company, 7th Kansas Cavalry through September 1861 through September 1865. A neat item. (Est. $100-200)
706. From a soldier in the 8th PA: “I have reenlisted… for three years more…I suppose Mother will think me rather disobedient…” Fine ALS from Andrew F. Missimer, 8th Pennsylvania Cavalry, Camp near Warrenton, January 20, 1864, together with postal-canceled cover addressed to his sister in Jersey Shore, Pa. The letter reads in part: “….we had got our winter Quarters built & was pretty comfortably situated, so you can imagine our dissatisfaction at getting the orders to move camp. We got the orders about noon, we commenced to pack our saddles & was ready to move about two o’clock, but as usual we did not get started until near night and arrived at this place about one o’clock at night & bivouacked in a field for the night…I have saw and went through many hard storms and marches…It commenced snowing the night before our march & snowed to the depth of three or four inches and cleared off cold. You can just bet there was a great many hard words made use of that are not found in the Bible…There has two hundred & twenty men re-enlisted in the Regt. They were mustered in a few days ago and payed [sic] off they received over two hundred dollars….I did think that I would say nothing about it until I came home. It is this, I have reenlisted as a Veteran volunteer for three years more…I suppose Mother will think me rather disobedient, but when I received her request – it was too late…” (Est. $200-250)
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707. A medical officer in the 98th NY on passing soldiers and upcoming campaigns. Extensive 12pp. ALS from Sylvester Willard, Lt. (later Captain) 98th NYInf., Albany, December 6, 1862, with postal-canceled cover addressed to his brother in Connecticut, it reads in part: “I think I told you…of my interview with Col. Rucker the Quartermaster of Transportation…and of my posting over to General Meigs office for the same purpose…All utterly refused me transportation…Crossing the Delaware river at Philadelphia I met Mrs. Genl. Terry who came on the cars at Baltimore…by the Fortress Monroe Boat…I did not endorse the sentiments of the Vermont Colonel. I can foresee that we may, if we will, occupy Richmond in thirty days. If Banks with 50,000 men goes up the James River & Burnside with 120,000 presses forward from Fredericksburg against the broken columns of the Enemy, why may it not be so. It seems to me that such is the plan of the Campaign. My labors as Medical Examiner were great….My report was first to the Surgeon General…My examinations are known to have been rigid, yet my rejections are only 1 in 3 1/10…My article `Medical Examinations’ is in the Medical & Surgical Reporter just received….” Much more. (Est. $200-300)
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708. A member of the 38th NJ on failed peace negotiations with Confederate Vice President Stephens. ALS, 4pp., from Elijah R. Robinson, 38th New Jersey Infantry, pencil on lettersheet including patriotic embossed design, with postal-canceled cover addressed to his sister. Reads in part: “…the peace question is about played out. That Vice President – Stevenson (sic) would come to no terms but to recognize the independence of the Southern Confederacy. I think the commissioners that met him from the North ought to have hung [him] immediately. Rumor also says that Fort Darling the main fortification of Richmond has fallen into our hands…” Great history. (Est. $100-150)
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709. A member of the 9th NJ on “whipping the Rebels… (we) are going to kill them if we can.” 3pp. ALS by Henry Vannest, 9th New Jersey Infantry, on red and blue patriotic lettersheet with the words “The Union and the Constitution must and shall be Preserved.” From Washington, D.C., December 27, 1861, with postally canceled transmittal cover, it reads in part: “…I know we are whipping the rebels every day or two they had a battle Tuesday and we whipped them and we have fifteen thousand surrounded and they are marching right on the damn Rebels and are going to kill them if we can. I hope that we will succeed in the war…” Vannest enlisted in September of 1861 as a Corporal and mustered in F Company and was discharged exactly four years later. A fine expression of patriotic fervor. (Est. $100-150)
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710. On collecting rations. ALS, 3 pp., April 2, 1863, New Berne, NC., from Vic Champlin to his father Elias. He writes, in part: “Father, yours of March 22 came to hand last night. It found me in good health with considerable business on my hands. But so far I believe I have given good satisfaction to the officers above me in rank if not in capabilities. I came up from town about 1/2 hour ago. I have to go to town abut five times a week after rations and other articles. I have a horse at my command most of the time. The distance is about too [sic] miles or more. I then have to issue out the rations to five different squads of men with about sixty in a squad. It is some trouble to keep an account of the items. I think the exercise is good for my health. Rumor is afoot here this afternoon that we will be attacked here before morning. They have been having a little brush about 18 miles up the river. We have not heard how the affair ended or whether it has ended at all yet…” Victory Champlin enlisted in October 1861 at the age of 22 as a Private. He mustered into Company K, NY 56th Infantry and served until mustering out in April of 1865. He was in numerous actions including Malvern Hill, Yorktown, Charleston, and the Seven Days’ battles. A fine letter. (Est. $80-120)
Written just after Gettysburg: “God in his great mercy has spared my life… We have got Genl. Lee on the skedaddle.”
711. ALS, 2pp., July 17, 1863, from Theodore A. Goff of the CT 5th Regiment, Co. G, to his “Beloved Mother.” He writes, in part: “…I should have written to you before, but we have been on the move all the time and I have not had time. But God in his great mercy has spared my life through all of the late dangers and how thankful we had ought to be that I have the privilege of writing home to my Dear Mother when so many of my comrades lay cold in Death. We are expecting to cross the River tomorrow into Va. once more. We have got Genl Lee on the skedaddle and I guess our Genls intends to keep him going and I think our prospects looks bright now and I hope the nation will…” Much more fine content. Goff enlisted September 1861 and didn’t muster out until June 1865. He earned a promotion to Corporal in 1862. At Gettysburg, his regiment reached the field on the evening of July 1st. It was put into the line of battle on the right of Culp’s Hill on the morning of the 2d, and at once built strong earthworks along its whole front. Towards evening it was marched over to the left to support Sickles, but after he had fallen back to his new line was ordered to return to its own works and position in the line, but found them in possession of the enemy. In attempting to take possession of them again the men were fired upon, and several were wounded and captured. The next morning, while the residue of this division were storming and retaking their own works, the Fifth was detached and sent farther to the right, to support a battery at first, and afterwards to support the cavalry, and served with them during the remainder of the battle. During Lee’s retreat the Fifth was in advance of the pursuit as far as Warrenton, VA. A fine, historic missive. (Est. $100-150)
712. On New Year’s rations and living in a slave cabin. Fine content ALS, 3pp., January 2, 1865, Savannah, Georgia, from F. Thayer to his wife. He writes, in part: “When I wrote you last I was in the City proper. We stayed there ten days and left. Went back to our Brigade wich [sic] was in camp about two miles, we have to keep with the General and staff officers. We are now in camp on a plantation on the banks of the Savannah river, one of the most beautiful places that you can imagine… It contains the mansion wich [sic] the officers ocupy and forty five slave huts, one of wich we ocupy …. We now have full rations wich is as much as we can eat…We had a great time the night before new years. We had just come from the city and had not time to pick out quarters that night so we went into the quarters of the 2d brigade band wich were there. They also were from Massachusetts. We had all gone to bed when an orderly came in and wanted both bands to come over to headquarters and such a time I had not seen for some time the drunkist lot of officers that I ever see. I had to take some whiskey that night. They wished me a happy new year a thousand times. But enough of this. We were mustered in for our pay Saturday for two months, and as soon as the rolls reach Boston, you will get your pay, somewhere about the fifteenth of January…” More content, quite fine. (Est. $100-150)
713. “Our men shelled the Rebs out of the woods and the 87th Pennsylvania charged bayonets on them and drove them back over the mountains.” ALS, 6pp., Winchester, Va., April 30, 1863, light age/toning, from a soldier named George to his home and friends. He writes in part: “Since I last wrote you we have had a big old march or scout. It seams the Rebs had concentrated a small force at Strasburg about 19 miles from here so Milroy sent our regt 116th several companies of cavalry, 4 pieces of artillery to drive them out and sent a large cavalry force out the other way to cut off their retreat. We went and drove them out and the cavalry did but they slipt [sic] the other force some way so it didn’t amount to much. We lost one man killed and two wounded. We took several prisoners and killed some of them. They took all their wounded off with them. The cavalry done all the fighting. We didn’t get a sight of them. This all happened on the 22d. We slept on the ground that night. It commenced to rain in the evening and rained all night like the old harry [?]. Got up next morning and started back to Winchester arrived about three in the afternoon. Rained all the way back. We took our blankets only so we didn’t have much to carry… It still kept on raining. Next morning we were ordered off on another scout north: 5 days rations but where we didn’t know but it seemed we were ordered to Morsefield [?] as the rebs had concentrated a right smart force there with the intention of making a raid on the Band… The first day we marched 28 miles, the furtherest we ever went in one day. Stopt at night we had no tents so we had to sleep on the ground. Next morning, Sunday we started on our way rejoicing, but only went 4 miles when we suddenly came to a halt. There was a river and the bridge was gon and we couldn’t get acrost so we went back to the place we started from in the morning… Next day Monday, started again made some Pontoon Bridges of wagons and plank… The scouts came up and sayed the Rebs had skedaddled so we turned around and went back to our old ground. Stayed all night in our old place again. Next morning started on the march again and went around by Strasburg again to drive the Rebs out. Got there in the afternoon when the cavalry had another brush with the Rebs which proved harder than the other. There was 5 or 6 of our men killed and several wounded. Our men shelled the Rebs out of the woods and the 87th Pennsylvania charged bayonets on them and drove them back over the mountains. Stayed on the ground again that night. Started next morning yesterday for Winchester and got in about three oclock, all safe and sound. Thus ended our successful scout. Was gone 5 days and marched over 100 miles. The boys were tired when they got back with sore feet….” (Est. $150-200)
714. “We have exchanged our old muskets for the Springfield rife, considered the best piece in the service.” ALS, 2pp., written from William Radcliff, “Camp, 143 Reg’t N.Y.S. Vols. near Upton Hills, Va.,” January 22, 1863, to Elias Champlin. He writes, in part: “The health of the Regt is generally good. The second death in the regiment at camp was Francis Abberley, a member of our Company who died on the 13th… All together we have sent six men from our company to hospital at Washington, of these three have returned to duty, one regularly sent back & two skeedaddled from convelesant [sic] Camp & joined us because they fared better in camp with the Regt than at the convelesant camp. We have exchanged our old muskets for the Springfield rifle, considered the best piece in the service. The colonel effected the exchange without going to our brigadier & he was much surprised to learn that we had them as we are the only Regt in the Brigade furnished with them….” Much more fine content. (Est. $150-200)
Needing “suggestions in regard to negroes” and how much they should be paid. Important wardate discourse on employing “contraband” soldiers.
715. ALS, 2pp. with 1 page response on verso, Headquarters, Suffolk, VA, October 12, 1862, from Benjamin B. Foster to Colonel Daniel Tompkins Van Buren. Foster (1831-1903) commissioned in I Co., ME 11th Infantry then transferred into US Vols Adj. Genl. Dept, was promoted to Colonel. He writes: “General Peck wishes me to write you, unofficially, for some suggestions in regard to negroes. They are coming in here in greater numbers than can be `advantageously employed’ and it is a matter of some perplexity to know what dispositions to make of them. Those that are employed are, by G.O. No. 109 Adj Genl’s office, of Aug. 16, `62, to receive `reasonable wages.’ Has Maj. Gen. Dix ever established the rates at which they are to be paid? If so I shall be glad to learn what they are, as well as to receive any other regulations touching this subject. Upon assuming command here Gen. Peck found them at work in the Quartermaster Department at wages varying from $8.00 to $45.00 per month. I remain, Yr. obet. servant. Benj. B. Foster A.A. A. Genl.” Daniel Tompkins Van Buren (1826-90) a brigadier general, graduated from West Point in 1847, fought in the Mexican War, began the Civil War as artillery captain in the 20th NY Militia. He was chief of staff for Gen. Dix and Asst. Adj. Gen. for Hooker. He responds on the integral leaf to Foster: “The contraband question is as you say a vexed one. No positive instructions have ever been received, as regards their payment or employment. Such as you referred to. I understand that they receive wages here from $5 to $10 per month with a ration each. As to who pays them I cannot say – except such as are borne on the quartermaster’s rolls. & then they are are paid by the quartermaster’s employees. Respectfully your obt. svt. D. Van Buren A.A.G.” An important missive. (Est. $300-500)
Just before being taken prisoner: “There is one chance out ten for us to enter the battlefield and then one chance out of 10 of being killed. That makes 20 chances of being laid by a bullet.”
716. ALS, 4pp., on illustrated lettersheet depicting the capitol building in blue, from Butler Comstock, 3rd Regt., Excelsior Brigade, to his former teacher, Mr. Love, back home in Jamestown, NY., from Camp Cowdwell, Washington City, Sept. 1st, 1861. Comstock writes “I am well and enjoying good health, and feel contented with this mode of life, though I have to go through with hardships, and do away with many comforts of life, but after all there is a particular charm to camp life which seems to carry out human nature. When one has to stand on picket guard near the enemies lines all night, and have the rain come down so that the water will run in the road six inches in depth, and then think it all fun, must have some desire to soldier life. A life of hardship and outdoor life, I should prefer in preference to any other. I have slept in the mud cold and wet and not even get any cold, at least I have not had a cold since leaving Jamestown. When I was going to school last winter and fall I catched cold every week, nothing is more injurious to the health than living in a house or being kept warm and dry by a shelter. More exposier [sic] and less high living is what a great majority of the people need and I think the soldiers are healthier as a general than they were four month ago. this is all my opinion about our life, yet I may be wrong in it… Soldiers here are making calculations to live as well as those who are not engaged as far as being killed in battle. There is one chance out ten for us to enter the battlefield and then one chance out of 10 of being killed. That makes 20 chances of being laid by a bullet…I can not write any more at present for the mail is going out and we have got to prepare for inspection of arms by Gen. McClellan…” Butler Comstock (1840-72) enlisted as a Private May 1861 at the age of 21 into Company B, 72nd Infantry Regiment, New York. He was taken POW May 5, 1862 at Williamsburg, VA after being severely wounded in the field. He was cared for at a Confederate hospital and paroled the following week. Shortly thereafter he was discharged because of his wounds. A great, Civil War letter. (Est. $150-250)
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Just after the firing on Fort Sumter:
“I had a Union cockade on my breast, which I always wear now. These are stirring times… even when the momentary successes of the traitors have seemed most galling, and loyal indignation has made me curse them with a curse which I could readily drive home at the bayonet’s point.”
717. Lengthy 8pp. ALS, Troy, NY, April 22 through 24 1861, from a young man to his fiancee in Brunswick, ME. Together with stamped postmarked cover with a red and blue illustration of a waving flag. Wonderful content written a week after the surrender of Fort Sumter, in part: “I made a short call after tea at the home of Mr. Freeman, one of the wealthiest of our Trustees. His daughter Mary asked me if I would enlist. I answered, not unless it should become necessary. She replied `No, Gentlemen think it is all well enough for the Irish and common laborers to go and meet the enemy; but they prefer to raise flags and wear cockades at home.’ I had a Union cockade on by breast, which I always wear now. The taunt from her was a trifle to be laughed at, but from you it would either drive me crazy or make me a soldier…as most our girls here seem to be made of such stuff, can you wonder at the spread of the volunteer spirit? There is a body of soldiery here called the `Troy Citizens’ Corps’ incorporated by the State, and made exempt from militia duty except in case of actual invasion or insurrection, and organized for the protection of the city against disorder and violence. Their Captain Shields, is an officer of experience, who served in Mexico… I have offered myself as a member for the sake of obtaining some practical knowledge of military drill and discipline… You need have no fear that I shall be hurried by the enthusiasm that military associations may kindle, into any rash enlistment for service. Your wish is final on that point, unless an absolute demand should arise for my personal service…The terrible excitement of the country, the apprehension of general calamity… makes me cling more closely to your dear image…These are stirring times…This morning as I drew near the P.O…a member of the `Troy Citizens’ Corps’ stepped to me and …invited me to drill with them every night at the Armory…Were I in the ranks today, charging for our flag and our homes, the strength of my arms would feel itself yours, and be doubled; with a light heart and a firm step I should march onward…I think the hallowed memories of such a conflict, of the danger and privation and weary patience that would come to me, and the still sadder portion, the helpless fears and anxieties that would be yours, would in after years be as trophies and rich ornaments about our hearth…There has been no moment, even when the momentary successes of the traitors have seemed most galling, and loyal indignation has made me curse them with a curse which I could readily drive home at the bayonet’s point…when your love has not been lord of every pulse within me…Your are more to me…than the Country is; and the life that I would lay down at the bidding of patriotism only with some regret and in the field, is yours to give or take…I could not fight for civilization and mankind, as I could fight for you…The news from home is stirring. My brother expected to march today. The country around West Chester was in great excitement, apprehending a raid for plunder by the border Secessionists. This afternoon I visited the Watervliet Arsenal…They were shipping vast numbers of rifles to New York and Philadelphia, preparing gun-carriages, etc. In one building, some fifty boys were engaged making cartridges and rockets. It looked strange to see them sitting quietly at their work, with heaps of powder before them, when a spark from a cigar or a flint would blow the whole crowd into another world. Many hundreds are engaged in preparing the different munitions of war; among them, a large number of women making cartridge bags. My colleagues talk of nothing but the trap I fell into, in joining the `Citizens’ Corps’. They insist that it was my offer of my name that decided them to volunteer in a body; and they make great efforts to tease me about the unpleasant details of a soldier’s life…” Much more fine content – a tremendous Civil War missive. (Est. $250-300)
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“If Kentucky should secede and join the Southern Confederacy, it will be the sorriest day’s business she ever did; and there are thousands of blinded Secessionists there now, who will live to repent it.” Superb content.
718. Involved ALS, 4pp. on illustrated lettersheet from “Suffolk Trotting Course (5 miles from Philadelphia),” May 10, 1861, from A. B. Burton (one of the first from Ohio to join the Army) to his friend Henry in Cincinnati. Includes postally used cover. Burton discusses Kentucky’s status, his unauthorized trip from camp to see Philadelphia and meeting Gen. William S. Harney, hero of the Seminole, Mexican & Indian Wars, displaced from command in St. Louis in 1861 by the machinations of Blair and Gen. Lyon. “I am very glad to hear that Newport is all right and I only hope it will be so all over the State. A great deal depends on the way Kentucky acts at his time. If she only be as true to the Stars and Stripes now as she has been in times past, it is all that could be asked. If Gov. Magoffin and a few more of his stripe were put out of the way, I believe all would be well…If Kentucky should secede and join the Southern Confederacy, it will be the sorriest day’s business she ever did; and there are thousands of blinded Secessionists there now, who will live to repent it…I got out upon the road and pretty soon I overtook some more Rovers bound on the same errand…We went on till we came to the main road to town along which a Street Rail Road runs. We were immediately approached by several men, members of the Quaker City Home Guard…who asked us if we had been to breakfast…soon we were pitching into an humble but substantial breakfast of bread and butter, meat, eggs and coffee that was made out of coffee… I believe we aught to have gone back to camp straightaway, but here was Philadelphia with all its sights before us and we might never get the opportunity to see it again, particularly if our precious Colonel commanding had the say. Besides, everybody had gone, almost; there was only about two hundred in camp at that moment, and why shouldn’t we go? We considered that anyone who wouldn’t run the risk of being put in the `Guard-House’ for the sake of seeing Independence Hall was no Patriot…Being offered a free ride to West Philadelphia on the Str. R.R. Cars, we jumped on…before we were aware of it, a gentleman had paid our fare into town. Arrived at the corner of 12th and Market Sts., we jumped off and commenced our search for the Elephantine animal on foot…The first place of interest we visited was the grave of Benjamin Franklin…From here we went down to the Delaware…On the docks we found a good many of the Ohio boys, some of whom were waiting, they said, to see water run up stream. They had never seen tide-water, and they couldn’t understand how it could be. We went aboard a large vessel, the `Tuscarora’, a Liverpool packet…She is an emigrant vessel and carries abut 800 passengers…soon came to the great object of interest, Independence Hall…The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with portraits in oil of all the greatest men of the revolution. A statue of Washington stands at the end of the room…two of the original chairs which were in the Hall at the time of the signing…the old Liberty Bell, mounted on a beautiful pedestal…The Bell is of iron, about eighteen inches high and has a crack running up the side…It bears the motto `Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land’…It is impossible to describe…my feelings while surrounded by these sacred relics and under the circumstances. I was a soldier and on my way to help defend the nation and the glorious institutions founded by the men whose images I saw all around me. I felt nerved to suffer anything and to endure anything to accomplish this end and yet my heart was so full I couldn’t trust myself to speak and the tears started to my eyes…No wonder the citizens of Philadelphia are a warm-hearted, patriotic people with this old Hall and all its recollections in the midst of them…Our next visit was to the Continental Hotel, where we had a good wash and a cool drink of water and had the pleasure of seeing old Gen. Harney, who was just taking his leave. He is a tall majestic old man with white hair and with that firm, decided tread that I believe all old military men have. The fire is still bright in his eye and there is something about him that reminds one very much of Gen. Scott. We gave him the military salute, as he passed, which he very graciously answered…we steered straight for the Navy Yard…our uniforms admitted us where citizens are excluded…a lot of guns and shells of all sizes from 2 inch guns up to those that carry a ball weighing 212 lbs solid shot. They do not, however, use balls of that weight now, but shells of the same size…Among the cannon are eight that were taken from the British ship Siam by the old Constitution in the war of 1812…we went on board the 64 gun ship, St. Lawrence, which is being refitted…I had no idea that war vessels were built so heavy. She looks from the inside, where you can see her timbers, like a perfect fort in herself. You would think it impossible for a cannon ball to ever penetrate her side…There are about 1000 men at work in the yard now, hurrying things as much as possible…” Much more excellent content. (Est. $250-300)
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Describing war fever in New York just after Ft. Sumter: “I will send you… a rosette, red, white and blue. Almost every young man & some old ones…wear similar ones pinned on their coats… Lager beer saloons & very many private residences have large flags and tri-colored streamers waving from their windows”
719. ALS, 4pp., New York, April 29, 1861, from a woman to her brother in California. The letter is written just 2 weeks after the fall of Fort Sumter. She writes: “It is with a sad heart I sit down to pen you these few lines. The excitement in our city the past 2 weeks preparing for war & hearing how bad many of our troops have fared, already some of them being 24 hours without food & laying out in the open air & after they reached Washington, sleeping on stone floors without even a straw bed under them, the thought has made my heart sick. I am so glad you are so far away, for as I have seen our troops marching through the streets & preparing to leave, although they are no kin to me & strangers, yet the tear of sympathy I could not keep back when I reflected on the hardships, privations & probable death before them. I hope nothing will induce you or Theodore to go. You neither could stand one month…the hardships of marching & privations of a soldier’s life. Quite a number of our men have been sun struck…Do write to Theodore & beg him not to think even should there be a call of soldiers from California, to enlist. I am sure he never could stand it. He used to be weak in his bowels & I hear a number of our men are sick with bowel complaints…I will send you the Tribune. Unfold it and you will see a rosette, red, white and blue. Almost every young man & some old ones…wear similar ones pinned on their coats…I wish you both could take the wings of the morning and fly here to see the display of beautiful flags from all the Episcopal & Catholic church steeples. Public school houses, all public buildings, Hotels…Lager beer saloons & very many private residences have large flags and tri-colored streamers waving from their windows…I happened to be passing the Public School in Allen St. the other day just as they were preparing to raise the flag. The staff was out & the boys were outside the whole length of the block, each with a small flag in their hand and cheering at the top of their voices as the stars were first seen…and then as it unrolled & the stripes were seen & then waving so beautifully in the air, it was a soul stirring scene that I shall not soon forget…I met Cousin Sarah Newnan in the street…her husband believes the same as Uncle Abraham in Old Snow [Mormon Apostle Lorenzo Snow, 1814-1891, Fifth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] being a prophet sent by God & she told me this war was fulfilling his prophesy & that here husband & all Snow’s followers were rejoicing over the war & he thinks it will never end until all the wicked are destroyed & then the 144,000 righteous ones will be caught up in the air. How absurd. I don’t know a more wicked set of people. They rejoice over every calamity they hear of & say it is a feast for them…” Fine, reflective content. (Est. $200-300)
720. A man killed while celebrating the victory at Gettysburg! Interesting 4pp. ALS, Hillsdale, NY, July 10, 1863, from S. A. Foster to his cousin Darwin Esmond of Henry Marshall Co., Illinois. With postally-canceled cover, includes a description of a celebration over the good news from Gettysburg and Vicksburg: “We had a very sad accident here Tuesday night. We had some very good news and we thought it best to burn some powder over it, so we raised some money and bought a keg of powder and commenced firing the cannon and fired until between 2 & 1 o’clock and when the last gun was fired, George H. Holland was killed. They put in too heavy a charge and burst the cannon and a piece struck him on the head and he died in two hours & ten minutes…He stood in the door of the Bar room looking out after it struck him. It struck over the bar and broke the boards…” An interesting, odd missive with fun content. (Est. $70-90)
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721. “If I live through the battle you will soon hear from me again and if not you will know that I have gone to my lovely home and that I died as a Christian.” Colorful 2pp. ALS, Camp Mich, March 10, 1862, on illustrated, red and blue lettersheet depicting George B. McClellan with the slogan “WE HAVE BEAT OUR LAST RETREAT” (with matching, postally canceled cover), from James Henry Rikert to Celia Gibson of Watrousville, MI. Rikert, who enlisted as a 21 year old Private at Fort Wayne, MI and mustered into Company G of the MI 5th Infantry, writes in part: “…About a week ago I sent you another letter…to inform you that we (were) on the eve of a march on Manasses, but as a heavy rain came on, it was postponed and tomorrow I expect we will march for sure. Tonight we got small oil-cloth tents to carry with us which will accommodate two men and our big tents are to be left where they now are… This may be the last letter perhaps that you will ever get from me, but if I live through the battle you will soon hear from me again and if not you will know that I have gone to my lovely home and that I died as a Christian. I hope that you will excuse this short letter for we are very busy preparing for the march tomorrow…” Fine content on great patriotic stationery. (Est. $150-250)
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“The Federal army has started and I think it will not stop until we whip the rebels… We had a fight the other day at Bulls Run. We lost about one hundred and fifty men killed and wounded. Our men fought well, but the rebels was too strong for us. I think old Jackson is smarter than all of our Generals.”
722. [Civil War Letter Group with Bull Run Content.] Archive of five (5) letters, approximately 12pp. total, dated from October 4, 1861 through September 8, 1862, from Daniel O. Corbin, Co. H. 18th Regt. Mass. Vols., to his father in Franklin, MA. Two letters are on patriotic lettersheets: one with a red and blue illustration of Gen. McClellan in a star with the words “Commander of the Federal forces on the Potomac”, the other a large red and blue illustration of Liberty holding flag and standing on the globe. Three letters are accompanied by postal-canceled transmittal covers. In part: Camp Barnes, October 4, 1861: “We have moved our camp. It is about seven miles from the Potomac. We left hour [sic} camp near the Potomac last Saturday knight. We took our blankets on our back and started. We expected to fight but the rebels all left. We had to sleep on the ground until Wednesday knight. We are about half a mile from Falls Church… There is regiments all around us. Our troops have took possession of Munson’s Hill. We expect to have to march on before long. The Federal army has started and I think it will not stop until we whip the rebels. I think we can do it…” November 24, 1861: “…I am growing fat. I way [sic] one hundred and thirty six. I don’t have much to do now but eat. I eat all of the grub I can get. I don’t have to do any guard duty. I think I am lucky to get rid of doing my guard duty. Alfred has just come in to camp. He has been out on picket guard. They can’t have any fire out on picket…We had a great review last week. It was the largest review there ever was in the United States. There was over fifty thousand men. They looked handsome. I had the pleasure of carrying the stars and stripes…We don’t like our Colonel very well…” Corbin writes on September 6, 1862: “I have not had a chance to write before since we left Harrison’s Landing…four weeks ago, and we have ben [sic] on our feet ever since and we are now where we was six months ago…I don’t think the rebellion is enny nearer closed than it was a year ago. We had a fight the other day at Bulls Run. We lost about one hundred and fifty men killed and wounded. Our men fought well, but the rebels was too strong for us. I think old Jackson is smarter than all of our Generals. Our Generals are not good for much. I shouldn’t wonder if the South gained all they ask for yet they are in a fair way for it now…” The letter of September 8, 1862 includes: “I want to know what you think about the war. It don’t look as though it would be settled very soon. I have made up my mind that I shall not see Franklin for two years to come…” One letter archivally repaired at fold separations, one letter torn at top, otherwise fine. A great, detailed record. (Est. $300-400)
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He served in Pickett `s Brigade and participated in the Confederate General’s charge at Gettysburg… written a few months before that ill-fated engagement.
723. Fine Civil War ALS, 4pp. on different lettersheets, one blue, one tan, together with postal-canceled cover with pair of Jeff Davis stamps. “In Camp near Ivor Station Southampton County, Va., April 4, 1863,” from William H. Phillips, a sergeant in Co. F, 14th VA regiment (part of Pickett’s Division) to his parents. Philips had a “spotty” service record, alternately listed as AWOL, as a P.O.W., returning to service in time to fight at Gettysburg. He fought under Confederate Major General George Edward Pickett (1825-75) who formed the brigades for the ill-fated charge on the final day at Gettysburg. (Pickett never forgave Lee for the destruction of his command, and died a bitter man.) Phillips writes, in part, of his desire to leave the army just 3 months before he fought with his regiment at Gettysburg: “I have bin from home now gouing on 3 months and have not got but one letter from you all since I left and you all have a full half a dozen from me… I don’t expect to write you word that I am entirely well any more while I am in service, for I have the chronic diarrhaea, just like it was last summer. I am taking medicine from the doctor now, though I keep up and about, and doing my business. Pa I saw Mr. Owen this morning and he told me that he heard that Mr. William Goods & Mr. Mat Winkler was both dead. I was very sorry to hear it indeed. You will please write me word if it is true. Wesley came down here a few days ago, and I did not hear him say a thing about either of their deaths. Wesley came down to get a substitute for Hart Simmons, he told Wesley to bring him one, if he had to pay five thousand dollars for him. I understand that Uncle Pete Rainey is going to substitute for some person, who is it? Do you know?…I wrote you word in my last letter to direct your letters to Ivor Station, but instead of directing them to that place, you mite just direct them to Petersburg and they will come strait. We are still expecting a fight down here as soon as the ground gets firm enough to use artillery. We are certainly seeing a pritty hard time of it now, we are only getting a quarter of a pound of meat a day and one pound of flour. If it was not for my money I believe I would perish, I have spent upward of one hundred dollars in provisions since I left home, I eat the last of the ham you sent me yesterday morning…I have to say if you will fix any way to get me out of this war, I will live with you as long as I am alive, and work as hard as any negro you ever see in your life, as to saying, no one cant put in a substitute thar is no such thing, anyone can put in a substitute now as well as they ever could, they cost more money, that is all. Uncle Sam will help you out if you will undertake to get me out. I am perfectly satisfied for that to be my part of your estate no matter what you may be worth at the time of your death. That is all I shall ever want. This you need not to show this to anyone. I will say this to you, I am comming out of this war, one way or the other before very long. I am determined to leave this place. I have become diseased and can’t stand advice, and I had as lief die one death as another. You will please let one hear from you soon. Don’t see any uneaszness about me. I will wait for your motions now a while, and see what you can do for me, if you please do your best for me as this is the last time I shall ever make the attention…” An important missive from a confirmed participant in one of America’s most celebrated battles.
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