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    "There is as many as 300... of our men who were killed four days ago in a charge and are unburied yet..."

    Captain Eugene Hamilton of Company F, 5th Vermont, Writes a Graphic Account of the Battle of Cold Harbor. Three and a half pages in pencil, on two sheets, 5" x 8". "Hd Qtrs. 5th Vt. June 5, 1864". One of the last battles in Grant's Overland Campaign, the Battle of Cold Harbor raged from May 31 through June 12, 1864. Despite superior numbers, the Union forces suffered tremendous losses while launching a frontal attack against the fortified positions of Lee's army. Hamilton writes, "I am lying within 50 rods of the main Army of Gen. Lee yet I will just drop you a few lines... we started at 4 o'clock and met the enemy in less than 10 minutes. Our Regt. commenced fighting about 6 o'clock, not being in the first line when we started out: we fought them from 6 o'clock in the morning until sometime after dark. We lost 8 killed and 21 wounded... You will be astonished when I tell you that right in front of where I am writing this letter between our pit & the enemy, there is as many as 300 I should judge of our men who were killed 4 days ago in a charge and are unburied yet. The Rebs keep up with a fire night and day that it is impossible to bury them. They begin to stink so that it is almost impossible to stay here. We shall have to bury them some way tonight or we shall have to abandon our position and what is worst of all is amongst them there is some alive for they can be seen to stir..." Very clean, with flattened mail folds. Hamilton's letter captures the horror of the long trench warfare that followed the attack.

    More Information:

    Hd. Qtrs. 5th Vt.

    June 5 1864

    My Own Dear Wife

    I received your letter of the 20th yesterday and although I am lying within 50 rods of the main Army of Gen. Lee yet I will just drop you a few lines. Our Regt. had about as hard a fight day before yesterday as we have had. We had been up night and day for I don't know how long, marching & counter marching and digging breastworks & rifle pits. Yet we started at 4 o'clock and met the enemy in less than 10 minutes. Our Regt. commenced fighting about 6 o'clock, not being in the first line when we started out: we fought them from 6 o'clock in the morning until sometime after dark. We lost 8 killed and 21 wounded. Amongst the killed was Capt. Samson, the same one that I wanted you to call on his wife in Salem. He was killed instantly. Also Corporal Charles E. Stevens of my company, he was killed the same day. I send to you in this letter his photograph which he gave me the day or two before. One of my company was killed yesterday by a sharp shooter and Lieut. Bixby was wounded. You will be astonished when Itell you that right in front of where I am writing this letter between our pit & the enemy, there is as many as 300 I should judge of our men who were killed 4 days ago in a charge and are unburied yet. The Rebs keep up with a fire night and day that it is impossible to bury them. They begin to stink so that it is almost impossible to stay here. We shall have to bury them some way tonight or we shall have to abandon our position and what is worst of all is amongst them there is some alive for they can be seen to stir. There was a Mass. Colonel killed out there and they wanted his body so bad that his Regt. offered $1,000 to any person that would get his body, so last night a party crawled out then and tied a rope to his body and dragged it into our lines, but I can't stop to write any more now as I have to go to Head Quarters to see about moving my Regt. as I am still in command of the 5th Vt.

    I also send an order. You can get the money on it at any Bank. I hope that you do not fail to give all the glory to the good God for his great mercy in sparing the life of your affectionate Husband

    E. A. Hamilton



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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
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