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    "They were pouring a desperate fire of grape and canister and Minnie balls..."

    Private John Hatch of Co. I, 7th New Hampshire Letter with a Graphic Description of the Fight for Battery Wagner. Seven pages of two bifolia of different paper, but each approximately 5" x 8", accompanied by the original transmittal envelope with a Port Royal postmark. Morris Island, August 4, 1863. Hatch, a resident of Manchester, N.H., had enjoyed a mundane war experience up until July 18, 1863, when the 7th New Hampshire suffered over 200 casualties in the assault on Battery Wagner off the coast of Charleston. This was the Battle poignantly captured in the movie, "Glory." Hatch is writing to his niece, and begins his story with their first landing on Folly Island in June of 1863. His letter takes us through the memorable day of July 18. Not only did the 7th New Hampshire face the Confederate forces, they also came under friendly fire from the 100th New York who mistook them for the enemy.

    In part:
    "...[O]n the 18th of July, a day long to be remembered by the 7th Regiment, we made a charge... At night our brigade was ordered forward. One brigade was repulsed just as we came up. We closed in mass, then deployed columns from the left of the firs company and lay down within 100 yards of the fort. Just then the first brigade run over us in full retreat. They were pouring a desperate fire of grape and canister and minnie balls... we rushed up to the fort, fired one volley, then rushed through the ditch, up to our middle in water by a bayonet charge.

    The rebels could not stand the pressure but hid. The fort was now in our possession. All but one gun that we could not get as it had a casement. Outside were some rifle pits that kept up a constant fire on us. The rebs fired a few guns form their lurking places. Our Col. sent back for reinforcements, but none came in time.

    The 100th New York came up, mistook us for the rebels and fired into us, killing many. Death looked inevitable. At last we were ordered to retreat. The chance looked small over an open marsh strewn with our fallen companions. I got over the parapet, rushed through the ditch... Our loss is very heavy. There is nineteen killed and wounded and missing out of our Company... The regiment lost 203 privates and 18 officers..."

    Flattened folds, with some soiling thereat. A few stray spots of foxing, otherwise the ink remains bold. The second half of the letter is written on lined paper, and has toned a bit darker.


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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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