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    Description

    Union Officer Nathaniel McLean Letter with Battle of Chancellorsville Content. Four pages, 5" x 7.75". "Head Qu 1st Div 11th Corps/ Brooks Station. May 8th 1863." A letter to his wife with news of the battle and their losses. In part: "... I rode to Genl Hooker in ardor to see if I could not send out and ascertain the fate of Col Riley. Hooker would not permit me... but had already made arrangements for a corps of surgeons with supplies for our wounded to go today to the field of battle. It seems that Genl Stoneman with our cavalry has gone within two miles of Richmond cutting off the line of communication of the rebels and thereby depriving them of supplies. He has torn up railroads, burnt bridges and done a most deal of damage by which Genl Hooker thinks the rebels will be compelled to fall back at once, and in truth he says they are retreating. They sent word to him that he must take care of his own wounded, as they had not supplies enough for their own men, and since as I have said Hooker is sending over today for that purpose. I requested particular attention might be given to Col Riley's case and was promised it should be done... Today we are all in trouble in regard to the newspaper reports of the bad behavior of the eleventh corps, and every man in it, whether guilty of not must necessarily be injured by its conduct. There is no denying that as a corps it basely run before the enemy on the 2nd inst, but it is also true that to the German portion of the command belongs the disgrace. The 1st Division was on the right flank when the attack was made and the Brigade of Col Gilson occupied the point of attack. I was stationed with my brigade immediately at his left with two of my regiments in reserve. One the 75th was placed in rear of Col Gilson with orders to support him and the others in rear of the rest of my Brigade. The attack was made in heavy force but Gilson's brigade broke and ran like frightened sheep. Col Riley formed to support him, but the germans broke through his line causing some confusion. The 75th however fought until the Col ordered them back and it was just at this point poor Riley fell, I myself deployed the 25th Ohio to support the 75th but they also were run into by the Germans and after fighting for some time were compelled to yield. My other regiments were also forced back, and soon the retreat became a total rout... The result is that the eleventh corps is disgraced and all as I believe on account of the Germans..." Colonel Robert Riley died of his wounds. Accompanied by the original transmittal envelope.

    Condition: The letter is very clean, with flattened mail folds, and lightly toned. The postal stamp has been cut out, but the envelope has been neatly sliced open at top; with light soiling and a bit of dampstaining in one corner.


    More Information:

    The son of Supreme Court Justice John McLean, Nathaniel McLean (1815-1905) was a practicing attorney, when the Civil War began. He became a colonel of the 75th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which he organized. He saw action in the 1862 Shenandoah Valley Campaign against Stonewall Jackson, at Second Bull Run, Chancellorsville, and with William T. Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign and the Carolinas Campaign.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 319

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