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    Union Soldier's Letter by Charles Hall of Company "F", 8th Illinois Cavalry with Content Regarding the Pursuit of Rebels after Gettysburg. Four pages of a bifolium, 6.25" x 7.75"; "Near Knoxville"; July 16, 1863. The 8th Illinois Cavalry, under the command of Colonel William Gamble, was deployed west of Gettysburg on June 30, 1863 to lay in wait for Confederate forces that began arriving the following day. Although the 8th is credited with having fired the first shot at Gettysburg, the events described by Hall in this letter take place after the Battle when they are in pursuit of retreating Confederate forces.

    Writing to his wife in pencil: "At last the Rebel hordes are over the River again... I have some bad news for you... the death of John Cole. He was shot on the 14th while we were pushing the Rebel Rear Guard... In a fight he was always in advance. In this one we came upon the flank of their Rear Guard rather by surprise - and a sharp fight ensued in which John as usual pressed to the front - the Rebs being under cover of a fence wheat shocks &c not ten rods off. We kept up a sharp fire for some time, popping over every one that fairly showed himself and getting only a few wounded in return. At last the cry of 'Forward' was heard and John was one of the first, if not the very first to leap the fence, calling at the same time on a Reb close by to surrender. He fired instead and the ball passed thro' from side to side - entering the left side just forward of the upper part of the hip bone and coming out on the right side just back of the same. I helped carry him back... He wore his wound manfully tho' it pained him a good deal. The ball evidently grazed the back bone as he had little control over his legs... I bled very little... Another of our Co was wounded at the same place and nearly in the same place - a trifle lower down and more from front to back. He too it is said is dead. Two more of Co F gone at this time but 'many brave boys must fall'... Sel and 4 or 5 others got in the rear of about 50 who were being pressed in front and as soon as they saw our men in their rear they didn't wait to count but threw down their arms and begged for their lives..." He adds in the top margin: "That man that shot John was killed in his tracks by one of Co D - before he had time to move."

    Condition: With flattened folds and some wear thereat, including tiny bits of paper loss where folds intersect. Gently toned and a few stray stains. Accompanied by a typed transcript of the letter.

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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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