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    Haldiman Sumner Putnam, (1835-1863), Civil War Colonel in the 7th New Hampshire Regiment, killed while leading his men on the attack of Fort Wagner, war date Autograph Letter Signed "H. S.P." four pages, 8" x 9.5", St. Augustine, Florida, April 26, 1863. A detailed letter describing his activities including witnessing a naval bombardment on Charleston, the burning of Jacksonville, and the use of Black troops in battle. He writes in part: "...On arriving at Hilton Head your uncle was put in command of a brigade consisting of the three New Hampshire & 6th Conn. regmts.... we all went up to Stone inlet, lay there for one week heard the bombardment of Fort Sumter... I think... we may regret the not being in possession of Charleston, that an attack by land would only have caused us to loose more or less men, with precisely the same result..." Describing the naval battle in the harbor, he notes "...a magnificent spectacle... the monitors were all hit about 50 times, and but one, the Keokuk damaged. The great fight lasted about two hours. It fully demonstrated the power of the iron-clads to withstand any conceivable amount of hammering but unfortunately their offensive power is comparatively small when opposed to a casemate d fort... I came back immediately with my command of five companies after the attack had been abandoned... I am sorry you were not better satisfied with your place in the Grand Army... Moreover the idea that you are to be kept simply as a brigade quartermaster for any time is too ridiculous. Blood will tell my boy. And I shall not be startled to hear you a Lt. col. tomorrow- You know the sequl [sic] to the Jacksonville 'Capture'- the colored braves were there for a day or two & sent for reinforcements, the 8th Maine & 6th Conn- went down to their rescue, two darkies having been hit in the meantime - I am told the Cols. of the White regiments had orders not to assume command though we outranked Col. Higginson. They all stayed there a week or longer together and evacuated the place for the third time. After having gone brought he deep and unusual process of separating the lambs & goats & sending he former 'over the lines'. Well when they came away they concluded the town had been taken or 'captured' often enough so they promptly burnt about two thirds of it to ashes. this considering Jacksonville was at most the only place in the Department that ever manifested the least symptom of loyalty since we came here, was rather edifying. Of course the 'furniture hunters'... took good care to secure all the pianos, sofas, chairs, tables mirrors &c before burning... It is but just to say that the negroes behaved more decently than the White soldiers. the expedition was organized to secure a few hundred intelligent contrabands, to fill up the 2d S.C. Vols, they secured eighteen..." To this point, Putnam had yet to see combat, though he was considered one of the finest officers in the X Corps. His 7th New Hampshire, together with the famous 54th Massachusetts (Colored Troops), assaulted Fort Wagner on May 18, 1863. This futile assault, resulting in hundreds and hundreds of casualties, was made famous in the 1989 film "Glory." Light creases, else fine condition. A rich missive with real content... and tremendously rare. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 341

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