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    Union Soldier's Letter Group by James A. Hudson of Company H, 1st New York Cavalry (Lincoln's Cavalry). Seventeen war-dated letters from various locations dated August 29, 1861 through January 17, 1864, from Hudson to his cousin John Blauvelt; together with a letter from Hudson's father, also serving in the Union Army to the same recipient. Letters vary in length, with some battle content, including a letter describing how a cousin is wounded in battle. In small part: "[Camp Meigs, Washington; Aug. 29, 1861] We are encamped all safe & sound in a grove about 40 acres...2 miles north of Washington...there are 2 Secession hoses within 250 ids of us. At one of them 8 of Anderson's Zouaves were poisoned yesterday and died this morning. The poison was given in milk. One man was shot while attempting to poison a well on our camp grounds and 1 1/2 oz. of arsenic found on him. We have been very cautious and intent to be as long as we remain here. I have just finished my rations...cook them ourselves...passed Baltimore without trouble...the rebels are crossing in force within 3 miles of our camp but we care not for them as our camp is surrounded by at least 30,000 armed troops... [ [Camp Meigs, Washington, Sept. 26, 1861; to his friends at home] ...we got our horse last saturday. They have not been distributed yet, but expect they will be today as those of the same color are being put in the same company. The one I have been taking care of is a very dark Iron Grey... We have changed camp twice...and are still within 3 miles of the Capitol. Potter is kept quite busy doctoring...he has to wipe the horses noses...our Regt cannot be fit for service in less than 2 months...if they don't hurry up...they will never get ready. We are not yet armed...our Regt has been divided into 3 divisions under 3 majors. We are under [Charles H.] Ogle...when we left the city the bible society presented each of us with a testament and hymn book...enclosed are a couple of pieces clipped from the wing feathers of the American Eagle which was brought from Mich. by Co. K and is to be presented to President Lincoln... [Camp Kearney, Virginia, Feb. 19, 1862]... there is no doubt that our regt. will be discharged and I will be home by the 4th of July. You have no doubt heard the good news from Tenn. It was recd... last night with cheers and firing of minute guns, salutes etc... as soon as the roads get decent you can rest assured that you will hear a good account of the Army of the Potomac. We will be in Richmond before the first of June... the battle of Bull Run No. 2 will be a different affair than the last one...I have no horse yet... our quartermaster has gone to Washington for them... 8000 new ones came into Washington yesterday... the most direct rout from here to Mott's Battery... is to pass up the Leesburg turnpike..."

    "On Board the Schooner Challenger at anchor off Shipping Point, Va., April 30, 1862... of our movements... in the direction of... Manassas and of our return to Alexandria and embarkation on a fleet of schooners... down the Chesapeake as far as Shipping Point at the mouth of Pecasso River, 7 miles from Yorktown... we dropped anchor... on the morning of... 18th Apr... we (about 175 vessels of all classes) have been enjoying a life on the ocean's wave... on our schooner we have 53 horses. They fill up all the deck... from the fore mast to the Qr. deck and stand veer closely packed... we have plenty of room... sporting on shore among the Sesesh girls. We occasionally hear heavy firing in the direction of Yorktown... May 1st. We expect to be landed today... the Rebs had evacuated Yorktown and fallen back 6 miles to some entrenchments which they have thrown up during the past month. Sharp work has been going on between the pickets, several have been killed & wounded on our side... "

    In a letter dated July 21, 1862, he details the loss suffered by Mott's 3rd New York Battery and the mortal wounding of their cousin during the Battle of White Oak: "Camp at James River, near Harrison's Landing, July 21st 1862 ...speaking of the supposed death of Coz. Bill...Potter & I saddled up...we found the segment of the Battery we were in search of. Having seen the boys several times...and being known among them as a relative of Blauvelt's I had little trouble in gathering from them the...particulars...near the close of the engagement at White Oak Swamp a shell struck and exploded in the Battery wagon shattering it into kindling...killing several horses. Bill was at this time in charge of the swing team of this ill fated wagon. A man who had charge of the wheel team says that Bill was apparently struck by a piece of that shell...he fell to the ground and tossed about in agony a few seconds then arose on his feet, walked a few paces, staggered and fell. Just then the battery was hard pressed and an order to limber up was given...nothing more was seen of him and all thought him dead till in the Herald of July 18th his name appears among the wounded ken to Fortress Monroe by the Danl. Webster. What the extent...of his wound is not stated simply the name and address 'Blauvelt, W. J. 3rd New York Artillery, Mott's Battery.' He was highly respected and his supposed death cast a gloom over many...this paragraph in the Herald caused great rejoicing in the battery. Their total loss was 20 killed, more than half the remainder wounded and several missing. They also lost between 30 & 40 horses, 5 caissons which were blown up by the Rebels shells...1 gun, a 10lb Parrott rifle...had to be left on the field for want of was of no use to the enemy...they have already recd 50 new horses..." Sadly, Blauvelt did not survive his wounds having died the day before this letter was written on July 20, 1862 at Brooklyn City Hospital. Ink has faded a bit, but remains legible; with a few stray stains.

    The group includes a carte de visite of James Potter, (identified on the mount, and on the verso as a "farrier") which is referenced in a letter dated November 4, 1863. Also in the group is a letter from Hudson's father to the same cousin describing New York City after the Draft Riots: "... we have quite lively times in the city now a days. Plenty of soldiers and drafting is a going on very rapid. I hear of no disturbance and don't anticipate any if they do commence... it will soon be put down. We have now at least forty thousand soldiers in the city... we have several foot batteries and several Regt of Regulars from the Rappahannock. Most every park and vacant spot of ground is filled with them. Madison Park is brim full with soldiers and tents... I want you and your lady to come down and see can form some idea of camp life... it is worth coming to see...F. Hudson." Partial transcripts of additional letters are available at*49078.

    Condition: Condition varies with most very good. Two letters, dated August 20, 1863 and September 28, 1863 have tears and paper loss at margins affecting a few words. January 18, 1862 letter has soiling, wear, and bits of paper loss at margins. September 22, 1861 letter has a few stray spots of foxing, and is missing a strip about an inch wide on integral page, removing about 3 lines of text.

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    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
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