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    Union Soldier's Letters (2) by Charles Hall of Company "F", 8th Illinois Cavalry with Battle of Brandy Station Content and a Large Drawn Map. Two letters dated June 13 and June 19, 1863. The June 13 letter is written on a bifolium, on pages one and four (8" x 10"), and a map illustrating the Battle lines of Brandy Station fills the interior pages (16" x 10"). Writing to his wife from Catlett's Station, the letter reads, in part: "On the other side of this sheet you will find a rude diagram of the battlefield of the 9th and showing some of the most dangerous positions occupied by the 8th... Two Squadrons of the 8th N.Y. crossed ahead of us and dashing up the road towards the Wood drove in the pickets and followed so closely as to keep the Rebs from manning the rifle pits. At the Edge of the Wood they came on the Picket Reserve, which fired a round and skedaddled on up the road. We followed hard after passing on the way 2 of the 8th N.Y. wounded, one wounded & one dead Reb - may have been more. As we pushed on the firing ahead grew heavier and we knew by the sound that it was coming back towards us. We (our Squadron F & C) drew up in line as shown at 'A' and had hardly done so when back came the N. Yorkers, driven in confusion like sheep, the Rebs right at their heels shooting and sabering them. We tried to halt them but in vain - they got thro' and around us somehow but the Rebs came to a halt not 2 rods in front of us looking like a bunch of eager hungry blood hounds - not in ranks but broken and each for himself in the eagerness of the chase... Our carbines were all ready and we gave them a volley and followed it up as fast as we could - some not stopping to reload but emptying their pistols too. I expected the Rebs would charge right up to us and try to break our lines & heads and so I kept my pistol loaded for 'close quarters' and used my carbine, but they did not try that one but soon gave way and fell reluctantly back. Here Col Davis (Brigade Com) was killed by a Reb not ten feet off, Capt Clark of Co C and Capt ... were wounded besides several others..." Halls continues in great detail, and ends by describing the yells of the Rebel soldiers: "A Reg't of Infantry or two passed up by us and took position at the farther edge of the Wood. The Rebs mistook them for dismounted Cavalry and charged them and got badly cut up. They always charge with loud yells of 'yik' & 'yik, yik' - not a shout or hurrah or anything but simply 'yik yik' that can be heard a long way and sometimes they succeed in frightening the green and scary and get them running in that way and then woe to the unlucky skedaddlers. While in the Wood we heard them 'yik yik'ing on our right flank and they did make a strong charge then but finally repulsed and defeated in their attempt to get possession of the Ford." The letter ends here, but appears to be complete. He uses the interior to illustrate the battle, and he may have simply run out of room to continue and close his letter.

    A second letter (4 pages, 5" x 8") is dated June 19, 1863 and is written from Aldie, Virginia. This letter expresses gratitude for his continued well-being, and sends some details about the captured and wounded. In small part: "... A hard fight it had been - we went immediately to the front but the Rebs had left, except those captured (50 or 60 I saw) but the ground or road rather where the hardest fight took place was strewn with our dead & wounded and horses... We hear that a good many Rebs were killed & wounded but they had all been taken away before we passed along... Heavy fighting has been going on in front (cavalry) and as I write a no. of ambulances are going out. Some 30 Prisoners and a few wounded have already come in." He adds in the margin, "I dropped you a line day before yesterday before leaving Bull Run Battle ground."

    Condition: Both letters are written in pencil. The June 13, 1862 letter has some smudging to the first page, but remains legible. The folds have some wear, and there are tiny separations at the intersections. The map has a few light stray stains. The June 19, 1862 letter has light smudging to the last page. Typed transcriptions of both letters are included.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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