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    Union Soldier Civil War Letter Archive. Many written by Union soldier Andrew Given, who served under General McClellan in the Army of the Potomac, to his "dear wife", Eliza Given. Other letters are included, too, some written by Thomas Forsythe, but others by unnamed authors. Nearly forty letters in all.

    Andrew Given, who enlisted as a private on May 25, 1861, in Co. C, 3rd New Jersey Infantry, has written the majority of the letters to his wife and children. He deserted his unit on September 7, 1862, likely to return to his family whom he pines for throughout his letters. But before deserting, he sends his wife letters of his wartime experiences. On July 14, 1861 - just seven days prior to the First Battle of Bull Run - he boasts, "The enemy are not a great ways from us, and may pay us a visit at any moment, but in the present case they would rather meet with a cold instead of a warm reception, bullets not being as palatable as ice water. Our men occasionally get a sight of a few of them on a scout, but no sooner do they see us than they run home to get something they forgot, and stay when they get there to save 'Getting their coats ventilated with some of our bullets."

    A few months later on November 21, 1861, he reports, "We were on a review yesterday at monsoons hill and I feel tired to day the were 73,000 thousand Solgers [reviewed] there yesterday by general McCleland it was the greatest site I ever saw in my life." On March 18, 1862, Given informs his wife, "I ges you heard about our success at Manasses [the abandoned works at Manassas Junction] and also of our rigement being the first to rise the Stars and Stripes on the rebels fortifications . . . our regiment got there and puld down the rebel flag and raised the Stars and Stripes and brought Seven Secession flags with us." Four months later on July 9, 1862, he writes with bravado, "Our regiment was in the battle of Gainess Hill [Gaines' Mill] on the 27th of June and got cut up badly loosing half our number but thank God I escaped unhurt and I don't think there is a rebel made to kill me." Given's letters also contain information about camp life and his camp accoutrements.

    Other letters included in this collection also provide content about battles and battlefields. The unknown writer of one poignant letter dated February 27, 1864, reports the horrors of the battlefield to his family following his visit to a major battlefield (likely Gettysburg). From Philadelphia, the writer reports, "I saw the field after the Battle was over and that was a most unmerciful sight to witness to see thousands of Dead and Wounded men. . . . I was sick for six weeks after for the Colnel's wife took me to a place where I saw a pile of arms and legs as big as a stack of hay, and some places when the men was Bured there feet would be out of the ground they were bured that thick thare is more killed in two days than is in the Whole British army." Another letter by an unknown writer dated June 22, 1863[?],from near Richmond reads, "we have got so cloas to the rebels capitell that we doant mind the haird Marchen ore the haird work fore we feel sure that we can setel this rebelon in a short time then we will all cum home and live in peas and hapenss." This collection also includes several post-war-dated letters. Many transmittal envelops are included, though stamps have been excised. All letters are in near fine condition.

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    June, 2010
    26th Saturday
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