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    Description

    Union Officer Nathaniel McLean Letter with "Stonewall" Jackson, Cross Keys, and Port Republic Content. Eight pages, 4.75" x 7.5"; Mount Jackson; June 13, 1862. While in pursuit of Stonewall Jackson, McLean sends a densely written letter with excellent content about the recent battle at Cross Keys, and the ensuing pursuit of General Jackson and his forces. In small part: "... We left here last week on our march in pursuit of Genl Jackson. The first day we reached Harrisonburg when an advance guard of cavalry run into an ambuscade and were driven back with quite a serious loss. Some infantry men sent forward and had a severe skirmish in which I think the enemy had the advantage. We lost a Colonel Wyndham taken prisoner and wounded (I believe that is his name) and the enemy lost Col Ashby killed besides many others. The nest day we rested and the following day pushed forward after the enemy on the road to Port Republic. We had not gone far before our advance became engaged with the rear of the enemy, the one advancing and the other retreating. We heard perhaps for an hour cannonading in our front until finally the enemy made a stand and our brigade was hurried forward and placed on the right wing in order of battle. The position of the enemy was a strange one, as we saw after the battle was over, when we marched over the ground the next day. But now comes the mortifying part of the affair. Blenker's division of Dutchmen were placed on the left, Milroy's brigade in the center, & Schenck's on the right. Our artillery in all parts went to mark on all sides. Everything seemed to be going on nicely when the dutch on the left wing broke & fled in confusion. The balance stood firm and if Fremont had not ordered the center & right wing to fall back & support the left I have no doubt the enemy would have been driven back in utter confusion. The result however that when we fell back the enemy fell back also, and during the night retreated on the road to Port Republic. Jackson was glad to quit as his loss was very heavy. Our loss was also severe but had it not been for the cowardly conduct of Blenker's division or a part of it our success would have been complete instead of having the mortification of being driven back... No doubt the papers will make much of this whole affair for Genl Fremont as I see the Gazette of the 5th has already commenced its fulsome flattery, but in my judgment the expedition has in almost all things been in a failure. You must not give this as my opinion publicly... Jackson it is true fled before us, but the moment we retreated he has come upon our rear and at this moment holds Harrisonburg where we left it is said some sixty odd of our wounded men. Yesterday, Genl Fremont sent back all of our ambulances under a flag of truce for the wounded left behind in our haste to retreat to this place. This looks & is bad. He might have waited a day longer even at the risk of a battle... What will be the result of the flag of truce I cannot tell but I hope our wounded will be given up to us... Our army has been disgraced by Blenker's division. His men plunder and maltreat and commit all sorts of outrages upon the quiet people on the road. Women are beaten and treated in the most shocking manner in many instances by the miserable brutes..."

    Condition: Written in pencil, the letter has flattened folds and is accompanied by the original transmittal cover. The cover has some wear and soiling; and the stamp has been cut away.


    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
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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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