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    [Colored Troops - Assault on James Island]. Union Sailor Daniel M. Spangler Autograph Letter Signed. Eight pages, 5" x 8", July 22, 1864. Addressed to his friend, Jacob H. Shriver, with whom he had previously served in the 166th Pennsylvania Infantry before re-enlisting in the Union Navy, Spangler gives a first-hand account of the Union assault on James Island four days earlier, as seen from the "Flagship Philadelphia" in Charleston Harbor, in addition to the action taken by the navy (nearly three weeks earlier) to weaken the enemy's defenses, in part:

    "The Phila[delphia] two Monitors, two Gunboats & two Mortar vessels entered Stono River . . . and commenced bombarding the rebel Batteries that line the river. At the same time we had about 5,000 land forces cooperating with us in our efforts to take James Island - which is the key to Charleston. Although our land forces succeeded in getting a good foothold on the Island . . . in the course of five or six days the rebels were so strongly reinforced . . . we were obliged to evacuate . . . Our troops were mostly 'Negroes' and it is said fought with the most determined bravery, their battle cry was 'Remember Fort Pillow [referring to the massacre of black troops who attempted to surrender after their defeat at Fort Pillow, Tennessee, three months earlier],' and I understand privately that they followed the example set them by the rebels at Fort Pillow . . . Although we had the best of the fight . . . it was necessary for us to evacuate when we did, for the rebels were before us in greatly superior numbers . . . On the last night of our occupation they made two or three fierce assaults on our slender earth works &" upon entering "the Blacks then fought them with clubbed muskets & drove them out again."

    Spangler was a captain in the 166th Pennsylvania when he mustered out in July 1863. He re-enlisted in the Union Navy sometime later. With the original transmittal envelope. Very minor separation at the intersections of the folds and some light toning.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
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