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    Two Letters from Two Confederate Soldiers. Both letters are four pages of a bifolium, 5" x 8", and both were written from Portsmouth, Virginia; April 30, 1861. From the small amount of information we can glean from the letters, we believe the two Confederate soldiers to be Corporal William T. Walker and Private Cornelius M. McLaurin, who served in Co. D (the "Spaulding Greys") of the 2nd Battalion Georgia Infantry. It is unknown whether the two men are writing to the same woman, but their letters both make reference to each other.

    In the first letter, Cornelius writes to his sister from the Naval Hospital, describing a bungled attempt by the Union army to blow up the naval yard. He writes, in part:

    "...You had better believe I was glad to hear that the Professor had made himself scarce. Walker said, 'didn't I tell you he was an abolitionist - hipacritical [sic] scoundrel.' We are still in the Naval Hospital at Portsmouth Va. We have received no orders to march to Fort Calhoun or any other place it is very probably that we will stay here for a while yet and if we do leave it will most likely be to Washington...The Hospital looks upon the water on every side except the west side, and a most beautiful sight it is to see the vessels sailing past like a bird & every now & then a little steamer forces its way through. But the noblest sight is the navy yard though it has been considerably injured by the U.S. troops. I saw many a novel sight at least so to me. I went first into a yard literally fenced in with cannon every one of which were spiked though many of the spikes were pulled out by the boys with their fingers. After seeing the cannon ranged around that yard I'll not make any more fun about those we saw in Griffin...The Federal Troops would have done much more damage if they had not got drunk when about half done. They had trains of Powder laid all under the navy yard and were to blow up the whole [illegible] when they left but they got drunk and carried all the small arms on board the Cumberland & Pawnee. While this was going on a prisoner swept off the connection of powder with a broom & then dampened the Powder. So that what would have been a wholesale deselation [sic]."

    In the second letter, Walker writes to a Miss Anne (possibly Cornelius' sister) and describes an engagement had by his unit. He also goes on to wax poetical about a young woman he left at home. It reads, in part:

    "If you could only see our encampment you would take some hearty laughs. We are all doing well, we were called on an expected battlefield the other night, and the Greys have the honor of being the first company on the field. Every man was at his post, with the determination to conquer or die. We expect to be attacked tonight, as six war vessels are only five miles from this place. Be not afraid that we will disgrace you, for we intend to fight like brave men, like Georgians. I will leave Cornelius to give the news. Why in the world did you all drive off that good southerner, old Harry? Pity the sorrows of the poor old man! I always knew that he was rotten on the slavery question. If he ever returns to Griffin, and any of us are there, he will certainly be killed. I will shoot him myself...I wish you to give my love to all the sweet ones in Griffin, and do not fail to place Emily Carnes among that number. Tell her that 'This world itself is a desert bare so that my foot-step knows; One only rose left blooming there, and she that virgin rose.' My last words shall be Emily Carnes & Griffin. I am very sorry that I am not better acquainted with her. She is a beautiful girl, and I believe she is as good as she is pretty. I hope I may have the good fortune of seeing her once more. If I thought I would never see her again, I feel that I would curse my fate & die. Fail not to present my kindest regards & esteem together with my best love, & beg her to take good care of my heart, (for I left it with her) I mean what I say & do not forget..."

    These two letters are a nice representation of two friends who served together during the Civil War. If our identifications are correct, William T. Walker would go on to be promoted to Captain and ultimately resigned from his position in January 1865. Cornelius M. McLaurin sadly contracted dysentery and passed away at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond in December 1862. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Both letters are in very good condition, with flattened mail folds and light toning. Some mild foxing on both.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 12
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 436

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