Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    "[The Rebels] poured into us one of the heaviest fires that any iron clad has been subjected to"

    [Civil War Ironclads]. USS Lehigh Letters (3). Each letter is a four-page bifolium written ruled paged from the ironclad Lehigh, dated October 1863 through February 1864 by A.[?] Hedrick. Writing to "Friend," Hedrick's colorful letters contain mostly fascinating information about battles in which the ironclad participated and life on board the ironclad.

    Hedrick is optimistic and playful throughout the letters. On October 4, 1863, he writes playfully about life on the ironclad. "We get along in this floating tub, which I can assure you is delightful in the extreme. The water is dashing over the deck constantly which is perfectly delightful & to add to all this the deck leaks like a riddle so that we have a shower bath in our rooms at all times." He goes on to criticize the Northern press for not reporting enough on the Lehigh's efforts while praising the Southern press for mentioning "the black & red demons as being the most conspicuous which I am proud to say is the Lehigh." This letter exhibits some separations along folds; moderate soiling.

    On November 27, 1863, Hedrick writes from Port Royal, South Carolina, where the monitor was spending "a few days for repairs as we have been terribly pounded by the batteries on Sullivan's Island." Hedrick shares details about their recent battle with the "Rebs" near Fort Sumter. The Rebels "poured into us one of the heaviest fires that any iron clad has been subjected to yet. They made daylight shine through us in a number of places. We received one shot in our hull which made us leak badly." Hedrick also explains how he survived "two narrow escapes" before suggesting, "If I don't get out of this iron clad soon I will be the inmate of an insane asylum." Some stains and separations at folds of this letter.

    The sailor writes on February 4, 1864, while the Lehigh was on picket duty, about a recent engagement: "While we were firing on the steamer the batteries on Sullivan's Island [in the Charleston Harbor] opened on some tugs alongside of us that were supplying us with ammunition. Most of that went over us. One struck our side. . . . The men on the tug did not seem to relish the performance much as they rushed around wildly." This letter exhibits complete and partial separations along most folds.

    The USS Lehigh was an ironclad monitor built in Philadelphia in 1863. Beginning in August 1863 (two months before Hedrick wrote the first letter), the ironclad joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron near Charleston, South Carolina. For the next several months, the Lehigh, along with other vessels in the squadron, attacked Fort Sumter and Sullivan's Island.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    3rd Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 594

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold on Apr 3, 2014 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2021 October 9 Americana & Political Signature Auction Featuring the Michael Ward Collection - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    The department director has the heart of a true and highly knowledgeable collector with the business acumen of someone who has been not only successful but has decades of an impeccable track record
    David Greenburg,
    Chicago, IL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search