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    Description

    George S. Hupman of the 89th NY Infantry Archive. A group of at least 16 letters from George Hupman, addressed to his parents. The majority of letters are war-dated, ranging from July 3, 1862 to July 31, 1864. Most letters are four pages in length, and measure approximately 5" x 8". These are accompanied by Hupman's discharge papers, a few letters from other family members, including his brother Charles, father Hiram, and uncle William Fairchild. George S. Hupman enlisted at the age of 26 to serve for three years, and he was quickly mustered into Company G of the NY 89th Infantry in October 1861. The unit saw action at significant engagements such as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Cold Harbor, and the Siege of Petersburg. Hupman survived the war and was discharged after his three years of service on October 15, 1864.

    While in camp with the 89th NY, known as the "Dickinson Guard", Hupman made sure to keep his family informed of his other relatives in the service. As with many cases during the war, information could often be unclear, and families would have no notion of their loved ones' safety. On October 5, 1862, George wrote of his cousin, Wiley Fairchild, saying that he was "Missing...Wiley we have heard was a prisoner and that he was found on the field dead. So we can't tell where he is." Luckily for the family, Wiley had only been taken prisoner during the Battle of Antietam, and he was later paroled.

    A few months later, on January 11, 1863, Hupman was fortunate to not only survive the Battle of Fredericksburg, but was in the vicinity of the incredible scientific advances by Thaddeus Lowe. The inventor and aeronaut had been made Chief Aeronaut of the Union Army Balloon Corps by Lincoln in 1861, and George mentions his friend seeing "professor Lowe and his great Balloon which stands near hear [sic] and goes up almost every day" while the Federal army was stationed opposite Fredericksburg.

    Just weeks later, George, now writing from Newport News, voiced his reasoning behind fighting in this war. He had been seeing numerous desertions from the army, and clearly felt compelled to justify his place in the fight. His February 28 letter reads, in part:

    "When I shall come home is more than I can tell. This much I can say. If not until I desert it will be a long time unless I change my mind verry much. There are men around here that will give anyone a suit of Citizens clothes and a pass if they will leave the Army. But that is no inducement to me. The cause for which I am here is just as Holy and Just. I think as was the cause for which our Forefathers fought and like a true Patriot I am going to do my duty to my Country as far as I am able. I want no such name as Deserter to follow me through this world wherever I go."

    Serving beside his brother was Charles H. Hupman, three years George's junior. One letter in the archive details Charles' experience of the Siege of Suffolk, where the 89th NY charged on the Confederate fort on Hill's point. He wrote on April 23, 1863: "...on the 19th we crost the river here & charged on the Rebel's fort; we captured 5 brass guns & 131 prisoners; we only lost 2 men killed & 7 wounded. The fite [sic] was short & hot; just as quick as we stept on the other shore we ran our best for the fort every man for himself...when the smoke from our guns raised up so I could see the fort I saw our old flag waving on the ramparts & the air was full of muskets & swords, & such a hollowing is never herd [sic] only on the Battle field."

    Following the Siege of Suffolk and Confederate withdrawal, the Union army took possession of the city and destroyed the rebel defenses. George wrote to his parents of the victory and the continual capture of trailing Confederate soldiers. He wrote on May 13, "Since the Rebs left here our Troops have been over the River daily cutting down the Forest along the Bank and distroying [sic] Rifle pits and Forts whilst others are daily fortifying this Bank. Our scanting cavalry are searching the whole Country for miles around and almost every day bring in one or more of the stragling [sic] Enemy who says they are tired of the war and are glad they are taken. They shew no resistance at the approach of our men. The other day one of our cavalry went out to a House where he found six of the Enemy. He asked them if they wanted to come to Suffolk. At once they all shouted yes. All rite says he come on fall in here. They immediately fell in and he marched them to Suffolk."

    This archive is a great collection of letters that reflect the experiences of both an individual soldier as well as a group of family members serving in the army together. Not only does it provide excellent details about key battles in the Civil War, but it also shows the communications and difficulties that families endured during the war (i.e. not knowing if a loved one was alive or receiving contradictory news). Along with these letters is a handwritten poem by George Hupman, as well as a family photograph and photograph pin of a young woman.

    Condition: Letters range from very good to fair, with usual mail folds and varying degrees of toning and wear. Some letters have areas of soiling and ink fading. Some of the mail folds have caused separations. The photograph and pin are lightly worn and somewhat faded.


    More Information:

    Transcription of a poem by George S. Hupman:

     

    Do they miss me at home do they miss me

    I would be an assurance most dear

    To know at this moment some loved one

    Was saying I wish he was here

    To feel that the group at the fireside

    Was thinking of me as I roam

    Oh! Yes t'would be joy beyond measure

    To know that they miss me at home

     

    To know that when twilight approaches the room

    That ever is reached in song

    Does some one repeat my name over

    And sigh that I tarry so long

    And is there a cord in the music

    That's missed when my voice is away

    And a cord in each heart that awaketh

    Regret at my wearrysome stay

     

    Do they set me a chair near the table

    When evening home pleasures are nigh

    When the candles are lit in the parlor

    And the stars in the calm asure sky

    And when the good nights are repeated

    And all lay them down to their sleep

    Do they think of the absent and waft me

    A whisper good night while they weep

     

    Do they miss me at home do they miss me

    At morning at noon or at night

    And linger one gloomy shade round them

    That only my presence can light

    Are joys less invitingly welcome

    And pleasure less hailed than before

    Because one is missed from the circle

    Because I am with them no more.



    Auction Info

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    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
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