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    Private Andre H. Beauchamp Autograph Letter Signed With Battle of Port Hudson Content. Two pages, front and back, 7" x 12.5", Port Hudson, Louisiana; March 16, 1863. A detailed letter from Beauchamp, addressed to his wife, with content relating to the Battle of Port Hudson. Beauchamp enlisted as a Private and served in Company F of the 1st Regiment Alabama Volunteers.

    At the start of 1863, the Union was looking to send a fleet up the Mississippi River in an attempt to clear the river of Confederate boats that were guarding Port Hudson and Vicksburg. Union Rear Admiral David G. Farragut gathered a fleet that included warships the USS Hartford, USS Richmond, USS Monongahela and USS Mississippi as well as gunboats the USS Albatross, USS Genesee and USS Kineo. With this force, Farragut launched an attack on Port Hudson in the late hours of March 14, 1863. Private Beauchamp, who was stationed at Port Hudson, writes of the engagement and the heavy gun battle between the Confederate batteries and the Union ships. In part:

    "I am yet alive after going through one of hottest Bombardments on record. The air was positively lit up with bombs. It was beyond anything I ever could conceive. The enemy tried to run five ships by our batteries and all of them large men of war. One, the Hartford, the flagship succeeding in passing, but I think must be badly damaged. We hurt one, the Mipisippi [sic], carrying thirty-two guns strong the most beautiful sight I ever saw. She burnt very slowly at first but after the flames rose above the deck they caught the rigging and ran up them like streaks of lightning, lightning up the river and surround country for miles. It was precisely like the pictures you have seen of ships on fire. Tuesday morning the 17th - I had to quit writing last evening to carry the sick back to the hospital. We had to move them away during the fight. One of the wounded was a yankee sailor whose leg had to be cut off. He was on the ship that was burnt. We captured about fifty prisoners in all. The yankee captain was killed. They left about fifty of their wounded to burn that they could not get off. I understand that the ship Richmond has since sunk, All that came in reach of our guns were badly damaged. The Essex did not try to come up it is supposed that she intended to remain below to protect the m[o]rtar boats. They have some eight or ten that shelled us all the time during the engagement. They were awful to look at. If I had been where I was out of danger it would have been a beautiful sight to have seen the air full of falling stars (as they looked first like stars). Some of them exploded seemingly a mile in the air. There was a rifled shell that went through the tent of Captain Williams that did not miss my head more than two feet...Now my dear Margaret if I should never see you again try to remember all my good ways and forget all my bad ways. I still live in hope of one day seeing you again...We are almost in as bad a fix as we were in prison. The government wont pay us enough to buy our tobacco. It owes us nearly six months pay, and we have received no [illegible] nor clothing money..." The letter is accompanied by the original transmittal cover.

    Although the Hartford and Albatross were able to pass through the blockade, the other boats were unable to make it upstream, and the battle was ultimately a Confederate victory. This letter provides a highly detailed and vivid account of the battle from the perspective of a defender of Port Hudson. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: The letter is lightly toned, with flattened mail folds. Slightly rough left edge. Overall very good. The envelope has usual toning, wear and soiling.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 725

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