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    Ward B. Frothingham: Two Civil War Journals for the years 1864 and 1865. Ward Brooks Frothingham (1828-1893) begins his day-to-day account on February 1, 1864, but unlike similar journals of the period, he adds a preface providing a personal history of his life as a soldier leading up to that point. Frothingham was one day shy of his thirty-third birthday when he enlisted in the Union Army: "I began the life of a soldier by enlisting in Captain John F. Dunning's Company, 22nd Regt. Mass. Vols. Called in honor of the Hon. Edward Everett the 'Everett Guard.' I enlisted as a 'corporal' on the 28th day of August 1861 and was 'mustered in' to the service of the U.S. on the 6th of September following." Frothingham was mustered into the 59th Regiment Massachusetts Veteran Volunteers as a second lieutenant just two months into the first journal.

    Throughout the journals he describes his involvement in different engagements including the Siege of Yorktown ("Before long we heard the 'cannons roar.' We supported a Battery all the Afternoon of Saturday the 5th of April [1862] and laid in the woods all night"); his wounding at the Battle of Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862 ("We saw our first heavy fighting at 'Gaines Hill [sic]' the second day of the 'seven days' fighting . . . I was wounded . . . quite severely - a 'minie ball' whizzing through my left shoulder . . . I was taken prisoner and was marched into Richmond . . . I was located in the 'cock' left of the Libby Prison until Saturday the 19th of July when I was parolled"); and the Battle of the Cold Harbor ("June 2, 1864 . . . The ball opened yesterday in good earnest . . . and continued till 8. The Rebs tried to get over our works at 3 different points, but were driven back every time with great slaughter. . . . Grant is playing his Vicksburg game and is cleaning the Johnnies out with 'shovel and pick'").

    The period beginning in the first part of July 1864 through March 1865 provides a stirring, firsthand account of life in the trenches during the Siege of Petersburg. His narrative of the siege ends at the Battle of Fort Stedman [March 25, 1865] where he is again taken prisoner and escorted once more to Libby Prison: "Fort Stedman was surprised & taken, and forming a line of battle, the Rebs marched back and surrounded us. The Major with all the Regt (except a few men who staid by me) made good their escape." Having been paroled on April 4, 1865, he makes note of the surrender of Gen. Lee ("Good news!! Good news!! Lee has at last surrendered. The Army of Northern Va is no more") and Lincoln's assassination ("President Lincoln was murdered at Fords Theater last night by the ruffian J. Wilkes Booth who shot him through the head with a pistol and then leaping on to the stage made his escape. . . . A great calamity has befallen the nation & the army will revenge the death of the martyr[ed] President").

    Bound in black leather, the second book dated 1865 is missing its front cover and the first two leaves are detached. The pages themselves show the usual toning with some areas of staining, but the text remains bright.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    3rd Thursday
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