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    Berdan Sharpshooters: William B. Greene Letter. Hiram Berdan (1824-1893) was an engineer, inventor and world-renowned marksman who is credited with the establishment of the United States Volunteer Sharpshooter Regiments during the Civil War. He invented a repeating rifle, a patented musket ball, a reaper and an amalgamation machine to separate gold from ore. In the Summer and Fall of 1861, he recruited eighteen companies which were formed into two regiments. He was named Colonel of the resultant 1st and 2nd U. S. Sharpshooters. His men wore distinctive green uniforms and had to pass rigorous marksmanship tests. They fought at Shepherdstown, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg (acting decisively and effectively at Devil's Den, Peach Orchard and Seminary Ridge), Bristoe and Mine Run. We are pleased to offer five published letters written by a member of that elite group, William B. Greene, Co. G, 2nd U.S.S.S. This first lot is actually a pair of letters written to Greene's mother in March 1862. Both are written in pencil. One is four pages written on all sides of a single, folded sheet (with a sketch of a "bullet profe vest" and the other is written on both sides of a single sheet inscribed "Head-Quarters, Second Reg't Berdan's U. S. Sharpshooters, Camp [Town of Bristol]". Excellent content - here are some excerpts: "... I now sit down after a hard march of 35 miles to write you... instead of putting up our tents we went into houses where the rebels had left them... Fairfax Court House... is an awful mean, low and dirty place... there is no one there hardly but niggers, the windows all stove out and everything in ruins... The next place was Centreville... I went to the battery and examined the guns they left and I found by close examination that they were wood guns... There are a great many graves here of the rebels with boards at the head to tell who they were and to what Regt. they belonged. Some belonged to Va Regt's. and some to Miss., mostly of Miss. I think our troops will advance on Richmond soon. All I have to carry is blankets - woolen and rubber - and a few little things. I don't have to carry a cartridge box nor cartridges. I spoke about the graves of the enemy being thick around here. Some of Co. A's fellows dug one of them tonight - he was buried separate from the rest so they thought he was an officer and would have a sword or something of that kind buried with him but they did not find any. The 14th Regt. N.Y.V. are the next Regt. behind us and they swear if they ever get a chance that they will not spare a wounded nor a sound Rebel. They were in the Battle of Bull Run. And a few days ago they went there to visit the place where a fellow left his brother sitting beside a tree. He went there to see if he could find his grave and there he was, sitting there by the tree. He was some decayed... He dug a grave and buried him and all the rest he could find... The rebels must have been short of rations, for their horses anyway. For all around there is dead horses laying in one place. There was 18 all in one place and all marked C.S. for Confederate States." Greene also crams in a note to a friend from back home named Marl: "...Are you going to enlist in the spring? I think you had better stay home for fat folks don't stand so great while out here. There was one fellow in our Co., about the biggest and the stoutest in the Co. gave out yesterday... We marched... 40 miles. The Bull Run fellows had to run 25 miles."

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2014
    7th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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