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    Union Corporal Emil Rundorff Manuscript Memoir. Dated 1912 and containing over seventy pages in a "'Feltinum' Note Book," 5.75" x 8.75". Emil Rundorff, born in Peitz-Brandenburg, Prussia, migrated to Burlington, Iowa, in 1857. He was twenty-three years old with four children when he mustered into Co. F of the 45th Iowa Infantry Volunteers on May 25, 1864. The 45th Iowa, comprised of enlistees to serve for one hundred days, was sent to guard railways and man garrisoning posts in Tennessee. Rundorff mustered out on August 16, 1864.

    The memoir, dedicated by Rundorff to his "beloved Son Charles E. Rundorff," begins with Rundorff's enlistment. In short, simple sentences, the veteran recounts to his son events ranging from receiving his uniform, running into trouble aboard the steamboat to Memphis ("the boys had cleaned out the Saloon and had smashed all the bottles and glasses"), to the details of how he and his company guarded bridges over the Wolf River in Tennessee against the Rebels. "We had to guard a Railroad bridge and a wagon bridge. Along the Railroad track close to our camp we had a fort." He also writes of picket duty, foraging for food, meeting other battle-hardened regiments, battling mosquitoes, and rumors of upcoming battles ("we heard that General [Nathan Bedford] Forrest with his cavalry was on his way to Memphis and our Regiment would be attacted [sic]. . . . We heard next day, that Gen. Forrest with his cavalry got into Memphis." Rundorff also records fascinating tales of events, such as the shooting of "a bushwacker Captain" after he was found "asleep in a corn crip" early one morning. The memoir ends as Rundorff arrives home in August 1864. He recalls that upon arriving home, he was unable to sleep in his own bed for several days because it was "too soft and too warm."

    In the notebook following his memoirs, Rundorff writes a two-page account entitled "Gen. Forrest's raid into Memphis, Tennessee" about Forrest's July 10, 1864, raid. "General Forrest rode his horse up the marble steps of the Grayosa [Gayoso] Hotel and registered his name in the Hotel register as Gen. Forrest and Staff C.S.A. Then taking a morning paper from the hands of a citizen he mounted and charged out of the city at the head of his ragged butternut colored column."

    Rundorff also includes a list of the names of officers, musicians, and privates (three pages) in the 45th; three poems ("What did the Private do," "We were Comrades," and "Gray and Blue"); a transcription of President Lincoln's October 1, 1864, Special Executive Order offering "thanks to the volunteers for one hundred days"; and a song entitled "Massa Linkun / Tune: Old Log Cabin in the Lane" (a six-page transcription). Rundorff has dated the final page March 5, 1912. The front cover is loose, while the back cover has partially separated. Pages are lined and toned and the text is easily read. Pages are clean. Rundorff died two years after writing the manuscript.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2010
    11th Saturday
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