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    [Petersburg] and [Death of Colonel Steadman]. G. W. Davis Autograph Letter Signed and Carte de Visite. Eight pages (recto only), 8" x 9.75", Point of Rocks [Virginia], October 1, 1864. General Griffin Alexander Stedman was mortally wounded on August 5, 1864, while surveying the defenses around Petersburg, Virginia. Writing to Stedman's mother two months later, he is telling her "...all I know of the circumstances and incidents as they occurred."

    "About 3 O'Clock or possibly later...of the afternoon of the day on which he was shot," he writes, "the firing of the pickets seemed to increase and soon became quite rapid...As a precautionary measure the troops which had been lying...in reserve were ordered up and Col Stedman's Brigade occupied a line within supporting distance of the pickets where the attack would be likely to take place...Col. S...quietly and calmly walked up to the advance line of trenches and endeavored to ascertain the cause of the firing. While thus walking and standing, Lt. Roberts once cautioned the Colonel against exposing himself to the enemys' [sic] fire, but he paid no attention to it or the bullets."

    Later, he orders the brigade back to camp, but remained to talk with General Ames: "...they were both standing in the trench and facing each other...each resting an arm upon a sort of paling of boards...While thus standing, the Genl With his right arm, and the Col. with his left resting upon these boards, a bullet was heard to strike something and stop...Genl. Ames asked 'Who is hit?' The Col. immediately dropped his arm, and with his right hand unbuttoned his coat took hold of his vest over the wound...He then turned and walked away saying 'I believe I am hit'...He very soon lost his strength and gradually settled down, wishing to lie down...and said 'Genl. Ames, I don't believe I shall recover from this.' A stretcher was now brought and he was taken a little distance to the rear..." When Lt. Davis heard the news he rode three miles to see the colonel. Davis records that Stedman said to him, "I was too confident, Davis, too confident. I did not think that I should be struck. I have escaped so many times, and when the danger was so much greater." Stedman died during the night.

    With a 2.5" x 4" CDV of Steadman, showing mustachioed and in uniform, chest up, with Prescott & Gage backstamp. Verso is damaged slightly from adhesive. The pages of the letter are bound together along the left edge. Page seven is separating from the binding. The lower portion of page eight, below the signature of Davis, has been removed. Slight wrinkling along the left margin.


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    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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