Description

    [Battle of Gettysburg]. John B. Bachelder Autograph Letter Signed. Four pages, 8.5" x 11", on his personal letterhead, Chelsea [Massachusetts], December 15, 1875. Writing to Major John W. Daniel, a Confederate officer and member of Early's Division who participated in the battle, he begins by praising him for his "...address before the Virginia Division of the Army of Northern Virginia...I have re-read it...with unabated interest, as I do everything which treats upon that battle."

    He then comments about his explanatory notes: "...it is known that the two brigades of Pender's Div. under General Trimble, were placed in support of the left of Heath's division, which formed the left wing of the front line of battle...In the charge which followed, it is due the members of both Pettigrew's and Trimble's commands to say that the ground over which they advanced was much more open and exposed than that moved over by Pickett's division..." He continues his commentary with regard to the actions of General Wilcox who "...did not claim to have advanced until Pickett's line had passed him..."

    He concludes by forwarding a copy of "...my Key to the painting of the Battle of Gettysburg...It was hastily written some five years ago...some errors may have crept into it; and I shall esteem it a great favor - indeed I ask that you and your friends criticize any expression which, if repeated in history, would perpetuate an error, or do injustice to any." Smoothed folds which exhibit some toning. Light ink smudging in places.


    More Information:

    John Badger Bachelder (1825-1894) was educated in the Military Academy system of New Hampshire, moving to Reading, Pennsylvania to work at the Pennsylvania Military Institute, where he would become principal in 1851. He became involved with the Pennsylvania militia and was appointed colonel in 1852. Returning to New Hampshire in 1853, he began his career as an artist and, with the outbreak if the Civil War, became obsessed with maintaining the artistic and historic record of the conflict, eventually concentrating his efforts on the battlefield of Gettysburg. He interviewed thousands of those who participated in the battle, including, in his words, 'the commanders of every regiment and battery in the Army of the Potomac." In 1869 Bachelder commissioned noted artist James Walker to create the monumental painting "Battle of Gettysburg: The Repulse of Longstreet's Assault" and in 1873 wrote and published the first guide book for the battlefield. The remainder of his life was dedicated to documenting and memorializing the battle, and he was responsible, more than any other man, for the placing of tablets and monuments, as well as the establishment of Gettysburg as a national military park.



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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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