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    [Civil War]. POW Richard H. Chute May 1864 Journal and Account of War Experiences. Small journal, 3" x 5", circa May 10 to May 29, 1864. Chute enlisted in the Union army as a private in August 1862 and was mustered into Company C of the 35th Massachusetts Infantry. He was later promoted to second lieutenant and transferred into Company F of the 59th Massachusetts Infantry in December 1863. Chute was captured by Confederate troops on May 24, 1864 and held as a prisoner of war at Libby Prison. He was paroled in December 1864 and rejoined the 59th MA. He was discharged from service on January 27, 1865.

    In his journal, Chute provides an extensive description of how he was captured by Rebel forces and imprisoned at Libby Prison. His May 24, 1864 entry reads in part:

    "...Immediately formed line of battle. The 35 Mass was deployed as skirmishers followed by the 57 Mass on the right & the 56 Mass on the left supported by the 4' & by Regulars on the right & the 59' Mass on the left when we moved forward. Met with a warm reception from the Johnny Rebs, who ran after a short fire. They formed behind a breastwork and opened on us with grape & cannister. Our loss having been heavy we were unable to take the battery with our small force. I was therefore ordered by Gen. Ledlie to report to Gen. Crittenden and ask for reinforcements which he promised to send at once. Returned to Gen. Ledlie and reported when I was ordered to go to the rear and direct position, while waiting for the reinforcements to come up I heard heavy firing on our front and immediately started to return to the front when I found a portion of our troops falling back in confusion. I attempted with both officers to rally them but being unable to do so left them and started again to the front in the direction of the firing but just as I thought I could see our men thro' the trees I was ordered to halt by 12 or 15 men dressed in Federal uniform. They demanded my sword with several muskets levelled at my head. Of course I was compelled to deliver it up when I was requested to double quick in an entirely different direction from that I wished. Viz: into the Rebel lines. Every afternoon was shown me and I was escorted thro' their lines and turned over with about 50 other prisoners all from our brigade among whom I found several friends among others Lieut Creasy & Lieut Cross both of Gen. Ledlie's staff - 9 P.M. Have just been searched by a Rebel officers have had a tent pitched for us (5 in all) officers. They have thus far been very polite..."

    Chute was marched to Ashland and from there transported by train to Richmond. He writes on May 26: "...12M on board cards headed toward Richmond. 2 P.M. Just arrived in Richmond. The people appear to be delighted to see so many Yanks. After being searched several times, and being relieved of my nice haversack, canteen & 35 in greenbacks we were shown our quarters. Find some 70 officers already here. They greet us cordially. Many of them are from Massachusetts...No rations yet." Two days later, on May 28, he wrote from Libby Prison: "10 A.M. ¼ rations have just been issued of corn bread, corn meal, rotten bacon & rice, but the quality is not so much that of as the quantity. A quiet day: for exercise we walk back & forth thro' the rooms." His last entry in the journal is the following day, on May 29, when he writes: "More ¼ rations same quality. Lt Cross send out 9.00 Confederate Money to buy meal, and received little less than ½ Peck which made us two good meals of 'mush'. Our mess consists of ten officers. We take turns in cooking."

    Accompanying the journal is an account of Chute's war experiences, 24 pages (missing first page), 8" x 10.5", Minneapolis; March 21, 1912. The account, written on the back of printed government lumber request forms, deals mainly with Chute's experiences during the 1864-1865 Peninsular Campaign. Battles that he writes about include Antietam, Vicksburg, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania. After his capture, Chute outlines his imprisonment, parole, and ultimate return home.

    Condition: The journey is toned throughout with areas of general soiling along with areas where the pencil lead smudged. Edges and corners are chipped and creased. Dampstaining throughout at center. The written account, as mentioned, is missing the first page. Light toning at the edges. The last page has some paper loss that does not affect any of the text.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
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