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    Description

    Group of Civilian Letters Addressed to Col. William W. Clark, 85th New York Volunteers. A collection of seven total letters, four are war-dated while the rest are undated. The dated letters range from April 21 to July 10, 1864 and are all addressed to Col. Clark from North Carolina civilians. Clark had enrolled in the Union army at the age of 34 on August 26, 1861. He was commissioned as Captain of Company B, 85th New York Infantry Regiment that December. Two years later, in May 1863, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. The 85th New York Regiment was split in January 1864, with a majority of it assigned to the 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 18th Corps, and the remaining regiment was stationed at Roanoke Island, North Carolina. This was a stroke of luck for Clark, who was assigned to Roanoke Island, because the men who were sent to the 3rd Brigade were forced to surrender to Confederate forces in April 1864, and nearly the entire regiment was captured. Clark would continue to lead his men in North Carolina, and mustered out of service on June 27, 1865.

    While stationed at Roanoke Island, Col. Clark received frequent letters from civilians in the area, who voiced requests, complaints, or general communications to the commander. Below are extracts from a sampling of letters that Clark received during his service in North Carolina:

    Samuel L. Bond Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 7.75" x 9.75", Edenton, North Carolina; June 12, 1864: "...I am requested by my little daughter to tender her thanks to you for your kind remembrance of her, and the box of some candy sent her. I am obliged to you for the papers sent, and a friend of mine promised to let me have some late Richmond papers to send you, but told me that he had put them in possession of his daughter Miss Mary Jones to take along with her to you. I will try and send you papers as often as I can get them, remember me to Col. Woodruss and accept the same to yourself."

    Molly Whedbee Autograph Letter Signed. Four pages, 5" x 8", Edenton, North Carolina; June 27, 1864: "Of course such a place as our Edenton must always be gay and lively, but the whole town seems to be in a deep sleep this morning. I cannot see anyone on the street so you can imagine just how I feel. If it was not for a nice breeze I get occasionally I think I should die on ennui...I am happy to inform you that I got all of your letters off the same day you gave them to me. I sent all that were for the prisoners to Gov. Vance and asked of him to forward them and to let me know where the prisoners are now, as their friends would like to know in future how to direct their letters...I have at last heard from George he is in Baltimore and wishes to come after me but the Provo. Marshall will not allow him to leave there until he can get some officer in the U.S. Army to prove that he is not a citizen of Balt. but a loyal man to the U.S. I wish you would be so kind as to write to the Provo Marshall of Balt. and get George all right...You know why it is I call upon you to forward my letters it is because I consider you my friend and do not hesitate in asking a favor, for I know you are always ready to do a kindness..."

    "Little Allie" Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages of a bifolium, 5" x 8", no place; no date: "We have just heard that your leave of absence has come and is going by this boat - it makes us feel very bad to part with our friend...how lonesome we will be without you for we miss you so much now. Do not forget us Dear Colonel we will think and talk about you all the time...Oh! Col are you going? Heaven keep you."

    Miss M. A. Hoskins Autograph Letter Signed. Two pages, 5.25" x 6.5", no place; no date: "I regret that the candid sentiments expressed by my friend should have given offense, and induced you to believe her disloyal to the Federal Government. She resided several years in this place, in the capacity of Teacher in my Father's family and her attachment to the South, and her acquaintance with its institutions probably tends to excite her sympathies to some extent in our behalf and induces her to regard us as being rather an oppressed people. I have no doubt that there are many other Northern hearts who, entertaining the same attachment for us, do truly sympathize with us, and heartily desire to see the end of this unrighteous strife - a strife unparalleled in the annals of history! You will perceive by the letter enclosed, that I have, for the qualification of hearing from my friend occasionally, suggested a careful avoidance of the subject in the future..."

    Condition: The letters have mail folds, with light edge toning. Minor soiling and foxing in places. All but one have their retained original transmittal covers. Usual wear and soiling to the covers.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2020
    22nd Wednesday
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