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    [Battle of Baton Rouge]. Robert H. Crist Autograph Letter Signed with Hand Drawn Map. Six pages, 7.75" x 9.75", Carrollton [Louisiana], September 16, 1862. Private Robert H. Crist, 21st Indiana Infantry, wrote home to his father and sisters several weeks after the Battle of Baton Rouge. Having just received a letter from them, he expresses his joy that the Indians had not "...killed you all off." As his father has expressed interest in knowing "...more of the Particulars of the Baton Rouge fight...I of coarse [sic] will give you my opinion & views of it."

    The Union army was stationed in the town of Baton Rouge and after several days of false alarms, "...a Darkee came in [on August 4] and told the Commanding officer there was a large force of Rebs coming from Vicksburg...about 3 Oclock in the morning [August 5] our guards heard several voleys [sic] fired...then about 4 ½ Oclock the Rebs came to our lines and drove in the Pickets, our Regt was out and went out first, to meet them...the Rebs had the Stars and 13 Stripes, our men waited a little and did not fire and the rebs discovered our men then they fired a voley [sic] and killed and wounded quite a number of our Officers & Sergeants then the fight commenced, our men stood their ground...then they fell back and fought them. The Batteries were playing on the Rebs now...Our men shot them down by Plattoons [sic]." He describes the sound of rounds whistling overhead. He goes on describing the battle: "...the Rebs tried to flank our Regt...Michigan was on our right with Mims Battery and Browns Ind Battery...the Rebs drove Browns gunners away from one gun, the Rebl [sic] flag bearer jumped up on the gun waved his flag & yelled Ive got you now. Brown says, 'the Hell you Have' just then the color bearer and several other Rebs fell." At the end of the battle, a flag of truce was sent out so both sides could collect the dead and wounded. The Federals abandoned the town a week later.

    On the verso of page six is a finely drawn map of the battlefield. Crist has indicated the positions of the Indiana camp as well as the positions of the 6th Massachusetts Battery, Mims Battery as well as the locations of the 14th Maine and 6th Michigan. At the top of the map, Crist has marked the "rebels 1st line" just behind the cornfield and graveyard [Magnolia Cemetery]. Blocking the Rebel advance is the line of the 21st Indiana. Closer to the camp Crist notes the position of the "Rebels 2d line" and the second line of the 21st Indiana. Directly in front of the camp is a dotted, horizontal line indicating the "picket line after the fight."

    Folds; upper edge has minor chipping. Edges are toned, especially the upper and left edges. Slight ink bleed-through. Robert H. Crist (1829-1912) was thirty-three years old when he enlisted in the Union army. In 1863, he transferred to the 1st Indiana Heavy Artillery where, by war's end, he had attained the rank of captain.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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