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    Union Soldier's Group of Letters by Lieutenant William H. Mickle. Four letters, totaling 18 pages, (5" x 8" and 8" x 9.75") written during the last days of the war with great content regarding the capture and destruction of North and South Carolina, news of the fall of Richmond, and Lincoln's assassination. In small part: "Hd. Qrs. Arty. Brig. 20th A. C., Fayetteville, North Carolina, March 12, 1865... have enjoyed excellent health on all our tedious campaign. Our movements... have been one success after another & today we rest quietly in one of the best cities of North Carolina. We have moved over South Carolina like a plague cleaning it almost entirely of provisions & material of war. We have destroyed their communications so thoroughly as to necessitate the evacuation of Charleston & other prominent places. We have recaptured hundreds of our prisoners, both officers & men and burned the places where they were so badly used. Notwithstanding the Rebs have howled so much about defeating Sherman etc they have not delayed us a single hour except by destroying a few bridges & they were repaired in the night, ready for the morning...all the boys...are well...we have 5 or 6 days march yet... the Confederacy is nearly 'played out'..."

    A letter (8 pages) written two weeks later reflects in great detail on the fate of South Carolina: "Hd. Qrs. Arty. Brig. 20th A. C., Goldsboro, N. Ca., Mar. 27, 65... we have waded through hardships & trails from Savannah to this place besides the innumerable swamps & rivers. Our march has visited the legitimate results of war on the people of S. Ca. & many in N. Ca. but in many instances S. Ca. suffered more than any of her sister states...her people were the first to bring this horrid war, had suffered little as yet while other states...had borne the burden of the conflict and last they were a set of braggarts...she will remember that it is not a little thing to try to destroy a government like ours...we had to bridge & corduroy half the distance & we came about five hundred miles without reaching a base. We...subsisted almost entirely on the country. When we arrived here thousands of the men were barefoot & many lad lived for days on parched corn yet they never murmured, all were confident of success...our late campaign swept the entire coast & cut their communications thoroughly in both North & South Carolina... we had but two fights large enough to claim the title of a battle...on the 16th & 19th... our Corps played...its part as usual & we did give them a nice whipping. It was perfectly grand, the way our batteries used theirs up & both in the open field; we killed all their horses, on one piece some... several on the caissons & limbers besides knocking the men about generally. Genl. Rhett of Fort Sumter fame had a division of Charleston troops intended 'cleaning the Yanks out'... but the 'poor fool' was captured & he lost about 300 of his men besides two pieces of artillery... on the 19th Joe Johnston intended to crush our column before those moving on other roads could reach us... but they only mixed up a few of the 14th Corps (although there were 5 Rebs to one of the 14th) before we came up & captured two pieces of Arty...as soon as we could form our line & unlimber our batteries we gave them a severe repulse...they made repeated assaults on our lines. Our loss was about 1500 & theirs over 3000. Since then we have seen but little of Joe Johnston or his Gray Backs. We are resting in one of their important towns... on the 16th as the 14th Corps passed us to form in line of battle. I found Cousin Edmund Pearsoll...he gave me the sad intelligence that [Corp.] Albert Slater [34th Illinois] was killed last summer [at Resaca] on the Atlanta campaign. How strange that Uncle Marquis should not know it!... I left Ned sick in Savannah, probably shall never see him again, have another boy whose name is Charley, a bright young nigh & tall Darkey..."

    A letter written just two days before General Lee's surrender, relays the news of Richmond's as reported to Sherman's troops: "Head Quarters. Army of Georgia. Office Chief of Artillery - Goldsboro, N. C., April 7, 1865... we are to have a review of the Artillery at 4 P. M.... by Maj. Genl. Mower, commanding 20th Corps... the 20th Corps can take the palm on reviews in preference to any of those in Sherman's army and our artillery brigade has been pronounced by Sherman & his subordinate Genls as the finest in the army... while one of the Div's were being reviewed yesterday a dispatch came to Genl. Sherman stating that Grant had taken Richmond - 25,000 prisoners, 500 pieces of artillery & A. P. Hill-Rebel Genl. reported killed. It would be useless for me to attempt a description of the enthusiasm that... took hold the troops as they...sent up prolonged cheers for Grant & his noble men... Grant will pursue Lee with all possible haste &... entirely destroy or capture his army... if Lee escapes Grant with a part of his army... to join Johnston... we may move immediately, but if Grant attends to Mr. Lee & gobble his army... we may remain here for some time..."

    Mickle's last letter is written days after Lincoln's death (his parents were not Lincoln supporters): "Raleigh, N.C. April 21st, 1865... relative to leaving the service & entering upon a civil career...the army is a place or...a thing that lives by excitement but the intelligence of the last 20 days has been almost too much for poor humanity to endure. First the glorious exhilarating news of the fall of Richmond, then just on its heels the capture of Lee's entire army... to a reverse of feeling the unparalleled assassination of Lincoln & attempt upon Secretary Seward cast a gloom over our army & people that cannot soon... be dispelled. There is a deep & intense feeling of sadness & indignation that cannot be expressed in words. The tears of... sorrow have coursed down the cheeks of thousands of... war worn veterans... many unused to weep found vent for their grief in this manner. The citizens of the South feel it almost as deeply as we for they just began to realize him to be their best friend... one whom many are strongly prejudiced... must necessarily fill his place. If reports are true... (Andy Johnson) on the 4th of March [was drunk]... disgraced the responsible position... he has brains & is a man of ability & I trust the dignity of his present high calling. The sad memory of Mr. Lincoln's untimely end and the wise heads around him will keep him straight & just before the people. O! that... National calamity attending the death of our late, revered President. It would seem that his work was done. He had been firm, though kind, toward the enemy...& injured them only so far as it was necessary to put down Rebellion... he was the only man who had... dared to break the fetters of Americas' dark bondmen & proclaims to the world that our institutions are now... free & all his acts were the embodiment of soul... it would also seem that the thousands of lives sacrificed in this great struggle were not sufficient to meet the demands of that vile institution, Slavery... though the fighting seems to be at an end yet now is the time that requires men of brains & diplomatic powers to readjust... we have a cessation of hostilities...till the terms of surrender agreed upon by Genl. Sherman & Johnston are acted upon by Grant & the President. It will be 4 or 5 days before we know what their decision is...we shall have no fighting of any amount..."

    Condition: All four letters include their original transmittal envelope. Stray foxing to two letters. March 12 and April 21 letters are written in pencil, but very clean and highly legible.


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