October 06, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Cincinnati


Civil War Collection of Letters from New England Soldiers, Featuring ALS from 6th Connecticut Private Discussing the Siege of Fort Pulaski and Capture of Savannah

Lot of 17. 

Halsey Bartlett, 6th CT Inf. Co. A, KIA Bermuda Hundred, VA, ALS, 4pp, to his mother. Dawfuskie Island, SC, April 2, 1862.

Bartlett writes to his mother about the siege of Port Pulaski and the capture of Georgia,

We were encamped about four miles from here on this Island and we moved down here to do guard and picket duty and unload vessels and boats that bring provisions for the soldiers. This place is called Cooper’s Landing. Our quarters are on a negro plantation belonging to a Union man by the name of Stoddard. He stayed here till the day after we took Hilton Head. The Rebels retreating to Savannah by this way would not let him stay but hurried him off with them. He is in Savannah now. All of the Island is owned by Union people who had to flee with the Rebels to save their lives. We have to work very hard on guard, either picket or home guard every other day. We expect to hear the booming of cannon soon on Fort Pulaski. We are expecting the gunboats up from Hilton Head every day to be ready to go into action and they have two batteries on Tybee Island, two on our Island in front of the fort, with eight mortars each. Those on Tybee have ten mortars to throw shells into the fort. It is only 1 ½ miles from Tybee Battery to the fort and six gunboats and two sloops of war, Wabash and Susquehanna. I guess it will not be so hard work after all to conquer them. After we take Fort Pulaski, if we meet with success, we have 3 small batteries and Fort Jackson to take and then comes Savannah. In less than a month you will hear that Savannah is taken. I think there was two men deserted from Fort Pulaski and came over to Gen. Viele’s headquarters and said they were more than half of the men in the fort Union men, and when the fort was attacked, there would be a good many blank cartridges fired. They would get into a fight among themselves and the fort could be taken easy. They have ammunition enough on Tybee Island to fire for eight days all of the time. As we were coming up here last Sunday, we stopped at a church a mile below here and there was a tomb opposite the church which had been broken open and a coffin broke to pieces and the bones of the corpse scattered all about and beside the church lay a human skull. It is not inhuman. Expect someone done it to rob the jewels and plate of the corpse (Dawfuskie Island, SC, April 2, 1862).

Bartlett enlisted as a Private on September 21, 1861 and mustered into the 6th CT Inf. Co. A on September 3, 1861. He re-enlisted on December 24, 1863. His regiment joined Gen. W.T. Sherman early in the war and participated at the battle of Port Royal and in the capture of Savannah. They fought at the second siege of Fort Sumter and the battle of Charleston. On June 17, 1864, Bartlett was killed in action at Bermuda Hundred, VA, after an attack by Gen. Lee’s Army. The regiment lost 184 men and officers, including Bartlett, in their engagement.

Thomas D. Peck, 5th VT Inf. Co. F, KIA at Savage's Station, VA, ALS, Camp 12 miles from Richmond, VA, May 22. Addressed to a Friend.

Thomas Peck felt that he and his regiment were quite highly favored soldiers. For the first few months of the war, they saw little action and avoided many dangerous posts. Peck wrote to his friend, I don’t believe we will have to fight much unless the Rebels are too many for the Advance we have not been in a fight yet but as I said before we was only a few rods in the rear of the couteucting(?) armies He continued, Would it not be curious if we should take Richmond and not have to be in any battle at all  (Camp 12 miles from Richmond, VA, May 22)? Their luck turned later that June. At their first engagement at Savage Station, VA the 5th VT lost 188 officers and men in half an hour including Peck. In total, it was more casualties ever sustained by a VT regiment throughout the entire Civil War

Maj. Charles Chipman, 29th MA Inf. Co. D., DOW Petersburg, ALS to his friend Lieut. John E. Smith.  Harrison’s Landing, VA, July 20, 1862.

Chipman congratulates his friend Lieut. John E. Smith on his promotion and commends his men’s efforts in a recent battle (quite possibly the Seven Days battle fought a few weeks earlier). Poor Mayo he got killed at the first of it, writes Chipman. The officers and men in the Regt. behaved splendidly with very few exceptions, Dr. Coeggswell(?) was taken prisoner, he returned yesterday with a somewhat more exalted opinion of Rebel resources and etc. than he formerly had (Harrison’s Landing, VA, July 20, 1862). In the same letter Chipman criticizes General Pope’s recent orders he believed should have been issued over a year ago.

Chipman enlisted in the army as a Captain on March 18, 1861. Four days later, he mustered into the 29th MA Inf. Co. D. His superiors promoted him to major on December 13, 1861. After surviving the battle of Malvern Hill, Second Bull Run, Antietam, and Fredericksburg he was fatally wounded at Petersburg on March 8, 1864. He died of his wounds along with 25 other officers and men in his regiment.

William H. Walton, 3rd NH Inf. Co. B, Amputee DOW. Camp Grant Arlington Heights, VA, April 20, 1864.

On July 23, 1861 twenty-year-old William H. Walton enlisted as a private in the army. He mustered into the 3rd NH Co. B on August 22, 1861. He re-enlisted on New Year’s Day in 1864. He and his regiment fought at Port Royal, SC and the Siege of Fort Sumter. On April 20, 1864 he wrote to his sister, General Grant left the city Saturday for the front the rebel tried to capture him on his way but they were failed in the attempt (Camp Grant Arlington Heights, VA, April 20, 1864). Two months later, Walton was severely wounded in the right leg at Ware Bottom Church, VA. Doctors operated and amputated the leg to save his life; however, he died of his injuries on July 21, 1864.

Captain Eli Walter Osborn, 2nd CT Co. G and 15th CT Inf., Died a POW at Danville, ALS to brother, signed Walter. Camp Chase Arlington Heights, October 3, 1862

Osborn writes to his brother about Col. Wright’s recent appointment to acting Brig. Gen. of the 15th CT as well as several other regiments. He discusses sword exercises he performs with other officers, but questions if they will be beneficial on the field. Walter enlisted as a captain in the army on April 22, 1861. He commissioned into the 2nd CT Inf. Co. G on April 7, 1861. He served with them until he mustered out on August 7, 1861. He reenlisted and commissioned into the field and staff of the 15th CT Inf. He accepted a promotion to Major on August 26, 1862 and fought with his men at the Battle of Fredericksburg. He was wounded in Battle at Kingston, NC on March 8, 1862 and captured by the enemy. They detained him at Danville prison until he died in prison on April 6, 1865.

Horace B. Morrison, 4th NH Co. D, ALS, 2p., to cousin Luther. Morris Island, SC, November 3, 1863.

Morrison writes to his cousin about a siege on Fort Sumter and Gregg,

They have been bombarding [Fort Sumter] for five days and nights I was on the pickett at Fort Gregg yesterday they shot away the flag on Fort Sumter twice the first time they shot it away a Reb come up on top of the Fort and began to wave it and put the flag up in the afternoon they shot it away again when the Reb come up to out it up away went our guns at him hang bang bang I guess that fellow went to his long home they havent put up the flag yet they will charge on it before many days (Morris Island, SC, November 3, 1863).

Morrison enlisted in the army on September 14, 1861. Four days later he mustered into the NH 4th Inf. Co. D. He received two promotions, reaching the rank of Sergt. by November 6, 1863. He and his regiment joined T.W. Sherman’s expedition to Port Royal, successfully captured Hilton Head Island, and fought at the siege of Charleston. They also participated at Cold Harbor and Petersburg. Morrison mustered out of service on September 24, 1864.

Lorenzo D. Miles, 3rd VT Inf. Co. E, ALS to mother. Camp Near Brandy Station, VA, Jan. 28, 1864

Lorenzo D. Miles enlisted as a private on June 1, 1861. He mustered into the 3rd VT Inf. Co. on July 16, 1861. By the date of his letter, Miles fought at most of the major battles including Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. I am back in the Co. E 3rd VT Battery F “6th” Atry” started for Washington…it is the gen. opinion there will be but little fighting before the first of June, wrote Miles to his mother (Camp Near Brandy Station, VA, Jan 28, 1864). It was an astute judgement because the 3rd VT did not engage in battle again until May. When the fighting continued, it was as intense as ever. Miles and the 3rd VT went on to fight at the Battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and Petersburg. After a seemingly unending series of hard fighting, Miles mustered out on July 27, 1864.

2nd Lieut. James W. Watts, 1st MA Heav. Art. Co. A, 4 ALsS to his Friend Webber in September and October 1863 concerning boot orders for himself and men in his regiment written from Fort Whipple, VA and an ALS from private Benjamin Le Bous/Pous(?) from Fort Albany October 20, 1861 also requesting a pair of boots.

James W. Watts enlisted in the army as a corporal on July 5, 1861. He mustered into the 1st MA Heavy Artillery Co. A, which saw action at Petersburg. He reached the rank of 2nd Lieut. on July 20th 1864 and was discharged from service for a disability on February 17th 1865.

Sylvester Oliver, 2st and 36th MA Inf., DOD, 2 ALsS to mother. Camp Nelson, March 14, 1864 and March 20, 1864.

While recovering from the hospital a very sore throat, a sore head, and some deafness private Sylvester F. Oliver wrote home to his mother, We have lost 4 of our little band of 21st boys not any that you know (Camp Nelson, March 14, 1864). He claimed to be content with his life in the army and was surprised how much he enjoyed it, but a few more days on his sick bed made him more melancholy. I never knew what a home, a mother, and friends was until I came in to the army But don’t think I am homesick, he wrote (Camp Nelson, March 20, 1864).

Oliver enlisted as a private and mustered into the 21st MA Inf. Co. G on January 5, 1864. He transferred out of the 21st on October 21, 1864 out of Petersburg, VA and into the 36th MA Inf. Co. K. He fought at the Second Battle of Bull Run.  Illness, not bullets took his life. He died of disease in Covington, KY on January 29, 1865.

Father and Son POWs, Dimon Hamilton and Ivory W. Hamilton, 1st ME Cav. Co. F and POW, 1863 letters.

4 ALsS from Dimon to his sister from Camp Near Sulphur Spring, Aug. 11, 1863 (?); Camp Baynard Feb. 22, 1863; Camp and Warrentown, Jan. 18, 1864; and Camp 1st Maine Cavalry February 20, 1865. One .5 p. ALS from Ivory W. Hamilton, Warrentown, Jan. 18, 1864.

Dimon Hamilton was nineteen years old when he enlisted for the army on August 30, 1862 with his father Ivory W. Hamilton. The father and son mustered into the 1st ME Cavl. as privates in Co. F. that same day. Dimon wrote his sister, Annie from the front, The brigade is here on picket now it is our regiments turn to go on post tomorrow…father had a letter today and as he was not here I took the liberty to read I was very glad to hear from home (Camp Near Sulphur Spring, Aug. 11, 1863). Dimon re-enlisted on December 31, 1863, his father also continued to serve. Their regiment fought at the Battle of Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and the Second Bull Run. The enemy captured both of them at Richmond, VA and listed them as POWs on March 1, 1864. The two were exchanged at some point and returned to the front. Dimon was promoted to Corporal in 1865, but was discharged on March 28, 1865. Ivory transferred to the veteran reserves on June 15, 1865.

The Civil War database has an incorrect age listed for Ivory. Census records indicate that he was 42 or 43 when he enlisted, not 24. All the letters written to Annie contain little news from the front, the health of others, and the weather.

Adeline, ALS, 4p., to soldier brother George. Putnam, CT, September 28, 1862.

Adeline informs her brother of the news of home including recent deaths, those who left for the 22nd Reg. for the front, a store closing in town, and her happy reception of a photograph from him. 

Fredrick Bartlett Doten, 14th CT Inf. Co. A, post-war ALS to his wife from Bridgeport, CT, Jan. 21, 1866 lamenting over her painful headaches.

Doten enlisted in the army as a corporal on August 1, 1862. He mustered into the 14th CT Inf. Co. A nineteen days later. He was promoted several times in 1863 and reached the rank of Captain in Co. F on October 20, 1863. He was listed as a POW at Morton’s Ford, VA on February 6, 1864 and paroled on March 15th that same year. He was discharged from the army on March 1, 1865.

Edward W. Curtis, 88th IL Inf. Co. I, ALS to Aunt R. in Hatfield, MA. Gen. Field Hospital Bridgeport, AL, August 16, 1864.

Typical soldier letter where Curtis inquires of news at home but offers little news from the front.

Edward W. Curtis was a twenty-five-year-old printer living in Hatfield, MA when the Civil War began. Although he lived in MA he enlisted in Chicago, IL and mustered into the 88th IL Inf. on August 27, 1862.  He participated in fighting at the Battle of Chickamauga, the Atlanta Campaign, and the Battle of Nashville. He mustered out of service on June 16, 1865 in Chattanooga, TN.

George E. Tisdale, 1st MA Inf. Musician, ALS to wife. Camp Hooker, Doncaster Budds Ferry, MD, December 18, 1861.

Before enlisting in the army, George E. Tisdale worked as a pianoforte maker. He took his musical prowess to serve his country by becoming a musician in the 1st MA Inf. His music; however, was drowned out by the sounds of cannon fire and shells. He wrote to his wife,

The rebels keep up their firing at our pickets and the schooner on the river I see them fire a shell at our Pickets this afternoon they were along beside some of the old buildings close to the waters edge on the banks of the river the shell is just barely cleared them and burst after it struck. It did damage we are in hopes to see something done very soon we cannot think the government will let this river be Blockaded this winter it is a perfect shame (Camp Hooker, Doncaster Budds Ferry, MD, December 18, 1861).

Prior to this battle, Tisdale fought with his regiment at the Battle of Bull Run. In his letter he references the fight, stating the shell sounds were very similar. Before ending his service on July 7, 1862, he fought at the Siege of Yorktown, the Battle of Seven Pines, and Malvern Hill.

Edmund Lewis Hyland, 32nd MA Inf. Co. F, ALS to parents. Philadelphia, September 23, 1863.

Eighteen-year-old Edmund Lewis Hyland enlisted in the 32nd MA Inf. as a private on February 22, 1862.  On September 23, 1863 he wrote to his parents, I expect there will be hard times in the army of the Potomac this fall (Philadelphia, September 23, 1863). Hyland’s expectation most likely stemmed from his experience in the Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. He was probably relieved to find that, although there was fighting in the fall, it was not near as awful as his prior battles. Trouble and tragedy did not hold off for long, that summer he was engaged at the Battle of the Wilderness. After that was Spotsylvania Court House and finally, Appomattox Court House.

A letter from an unidentified hospitalized soldier serving in the 42nd MA Milt.(?) 6 p. ALS to John M. Warren. Great Falls, MD, September 30, 1864. He describes in detail his regiment's march to a new location and the grandeur of the Georgetown Bridge. 



Typical folds and toning of the paper. 

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