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    Corporal Lewis F. Hanson, 10th New Hampshire Infantry, Letter with Fort Darling Content. Eight pages, 4" x 6.25", "Camp 10th NH Vols Near Petersburg"; May 19, 1864. Hanson enlisted at the age of 17 as a private and was mustered into Company G, 10th New Hampshire in early September 1862. In his letter to a Miss Knowles, Hanson describes four separate engagements that took place over the prior week as part of the Battle of Drewry's Bluff and leading up to the Siege of Petersburg. It reads in part:

    "...I don't know of anything I can write you which will interest you more than the details of four engagements we have been in since we left Yorktown...Our first engagement was one week ago last Saterday, the day we advanced on Petersburg and soon we found the rebs and has quite a heavy skirmish with them and has only one or two wounded however drove them and succeeded in cutting the RR between Richmond & Petersburg also telegraph wires on the right of our line was some heavy fighting. At night we fell back and occupied our camp here Sunday we spent without any skirmishing. Monday morning come and with 2 days rations orders advanced again, found the Rebs picket near the RR, though as we advanced they fell back without much skirmishing. We held four or five miles of the Railroad about noon and our further advance was more stubborn and we succeeded in driving the rebs to their own works when within a half mile our whole line halted & we were only a mile and a half from the City. Our Regiment advanced down the Railroad and when night come found our bed in an open field on plough ground and not a thing to lie down on neither over us. About 8 o'clock after dark the rebs charged down on us but we (our regiment) held still until they were nearer enough then gave them a few rounds, when they concluded to not come further we poured about ten volleys into them and soon it was all quiet again. About midnight they tried it again but did not come so earnest though met with the same success as at first. About 3 o'clock they repeated the same so did we each time they gave back. Next morning we fell back here again, destroyed railroad for miles. We lost several wounded only one from our company, but none killed. (three recent wounded).

    Thursday we advanced toward fort darling, met the enemy about four miles out when sharp skirmishing took place and they opened with artillery on us. A line of battle was formed which brought our regiment in front of where the skirmishing was, the whole line advanced we entered the woods and soon came to our line of skirmishers when the rebs were firing at us, and we at them. But without any orders we charged yelling and firing. The rebs began to skedaddle. We charged about a quarter of a mile when orders came to halt our regiment left the whole line and drove the rebs capturing 19 wounding some. We had one or two killed & 15 wounded on this charge & here I was hit none to hurt very much. I was hit in the left arm above the elbow with a spent ball, I think it must have hit a tree before me. I thought it had gone through but looked and saw no hole in my coat-sleeve then went on. They told me to fall back & I told them I was all right. I got a rather black arm but lucky as it was not to receive no worse, we held the line until the rest of the line came up then was sent to the rear for reserve. Here our line rested for the night. The rebs fell back over night.

    Friday we followed them up no engagement. Saterday morn our pickets advanced so our whole force did. We drove the rebs from there first line of intrenchments but they opened fire from there 2nd line and we suffered considerable from there firing. Here Charles Hoyt was wounded & he was the only from our company hit during saterdays fight. We had several hit in the regiment but I think none killed. C.H. was shot with a minney ball through the left arm breaking bone badly & passing through the left ear or through his face in front and come out just back of the ear. Dr think he will save his arm & the injury in the head will not hurt him. Sunday was no fighting. Monday morning it was very foggy & the rebs massed a heavy force & drove in our pickets and come down on us & turned our right and drove them after some hard & heavy fighting though with great loss. We had orders to fall back but about 8 o'clock the fog cleared and our regiment had a chance to blaze away at them for about a half an hour before we fell back. We had some killed and some wounded. We lost about two or three pieces of artillery. Heckman's brigade had the most fighting, he was the next on the right of ours. (ours was commanded by General Burnham) I had one man fall on me in the engagement on Monday with the back part of his head shove in by a piece of shell. He was setting right by my side. Our whole loss is 60 killed wounded & missing. I was very lucky and don't see how we saved so many. While I am writing this I hear fight going on out to the front & is pretty heavy I suppose we will be ordered out soon though our regiment is out to work on breastworks now but did not take the colors out and for this reason I remain here...we had five officers wounded and our Major included not any killed Major name Jessie G Angels". Accompanied by the original transmittal cover, postmarked May 23, [1864] from Old Point Comfort, Virginia.

    Condition: Flattened mail folds and light toning. Usual wear and soiling to the envelope.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2020
    22nd Wednesday
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