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    [Iron Brigade]. Mair Pointon Bullet Struck Autograph Letter Signed. Eight integral pages, 5" x 8", "In the Trenches near Spottsylvania Court House," May 20, 1864. Born in England in 1843, Mair Pointon immigrated to the United States in 1854 and enlisted in Co. "A," 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, the "Sauk County Riflemen" of the famed Iron Brigade, shortly after the fall of Fort Sumner in April 1861. He saw action at Second Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness before finding himself entrenched at Spotsylvania.

    Writing home to his brother and sister, he describes the opening days of the battle: "We left Culpepper on the night of the 3rd inst. and marched to Germinia Ford...The cavalry drove all the Rebels off or captured all that was guarding the ford...Morning of 5th we packed up and fell in about 8 o'clock a.m. Moved of[f]the Plank road to the right...formed line of battle our Regt was in 2nd line supporting the 7th Ind Regt. The battle soon be came [sic] general and very hot. Prisoners kept coming to the rear by the hundereds [sic] our men flushed with victory over the capture of 1 Rebel line of battle pressed on with more vigour...the Rebels saw the advantage the[y] could gain by flanking us on the Left...which they did, driving our men back in great confusion. Our Regt was entirely surrounded the[y] poured volly [sic] after volly [sic] in to us men fell like rain...the Lt. Col. took the colors, and rallied the men...and then commenced to fall back the Rebels following us closely...Did not sleep much that night with the pickets firing at one another." He picks up the narrative the following day: "6th attacked them at sunrise and drove them back about one mile to an opening where the Rebs opened with a battery...The Rebs flanked us again on the right and the men in the 2 line...fled in disorder...I slept well that night. Morning of 7th...The firing commence on the right moved us to the right for support, laid in our position all day...We marched all night..." He reports similar incidents for the next two days.

    Things change for Pointon on May 10, when he is caught in a storm of bullets that damage the very paper upon which this letter is written: "10th skirmishing all last night and morning. Afternoon advanced our Div. was in first line. drove the Rebels in to their Rifle pits. We got within 50 yds of them the Rebels poured a murderous fire from 3 ways in to our Regt the men fell like hail around...It was murdering men to put them in such places. I had no sooner got in than a bullet struck my Knapsack on one side passing through and going out on the other side making 6 holes in my Rubber Blanket 10 holes in my shirt and riped [sic] through my portfolio this sheet and the other one has the effects of it." Moments later, he is wounded in the shoulder: "About one minute after I was struck on the arm near the shoulder cutting the flesh making more of a bruise than a wound." The fighting continued for three days in a similar fashion, the lines of battle advancing and retreating on both sides. The carnage is summed up by Pointon when he says, "Gettysburg was nothing to it."

    The first sheet of the letter (encompassing pages one through four) shows a distinct tearing and impact mark at the vertical fold with nearly semi-circular wrinkling emanating from the epicenter similar to ripples in a pool. The tear itself has been archivally repaired. The rest of the letter shows some light soiling and toning. This is an impressive piece of Civil War memorabilia. With the original transmittal envelope.

    Pointon survived the war and mustered out in July 1865 with the rank of first lieutenant. He returned to Wisconsin and co-authored a book on the Sauk County Riflemen. He moved to California in 1917 and died the following January.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2012
    8th Saturday
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