Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Andersonville Prison letter: A very rare letter written by William W. Fish, 11th New Hampshire Infantry.
    William W. Fish was a resident of Manchester, New Hampshire, and was 19 years old when he enlisted on August 8th, 1862 into Co. C of the 11th New Hampshire Infantry. Fish would be wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862 and then in 1864 became a prisoner of war at the battle of the Wilderness, May 6th. He was imprisoned in Andersonville, Georgia which was also called "Camp Sumpter". Very few letters exist that were written from Andersonville as the conditions were so horrible. Prisoners were only allowed to write one page, and this was Williams first letter after reaching Andersonville.

    "Andersonville Ga. May 25 1864
    Camp Sumpter Military Prison

    My Dear Beloved Mother,

    We arrived here yesterday noon and hearing that letters can be received by prisoners from home, I hasten to inform you of the fact I am well, thank God.

    And hope this will find you all enjoying the same blessing. I am in good spirits and trust I shall get into our lines soon again. I have written twice before this. We give our names (three of us) to Col. Harriman to have them published in some one of our papers. I am obliged to be brief in my letters and left unsealed. Do not delay one hour in answering this, so I am exceedingly anxious to hear from home. Please enclose a blank sheet, envelope, and stamp and write a good long letter. Please inform me, if you know, of the loss of our Regt.

    When you write, direct to Camp, William W. Fish, Prisoner of War, 3rd Mess, 55th Detachment, Sumpter, Andersonville, Ga.

    From your affectionate son,


    William mentions "the three of us". The other two comrades from his regiment, the 11th New Hampshire, were James W. Franklin of Co. K and John L. Phelps of Co. C. Neither of his two friends would make it home. Phelps died as a prisoner and Franklin died of disease after making it to Camp Parole in Annapolis, Maryland.

    When William made it home he carefully kept this Andersonville letter and because it was so fragile, and backed it with another sheet from his real estate and insurance business that he eventually started. Stamped on the reverse of the backing sheet

    "WM. W. FISH,
    WEST SOMERVILLE, MASS." From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.

    Auction Info

    Bidding Begins Approx.
    17th Tuesday
    Auction Dates
    6th Sunday
    Proxy Bidding Begins Approx.
    17 Days
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: N/A
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 41
    Auction Type
    Signature®:  Heritage Live®:After Internet bidding closes, live bidding will take place through Your secret maximum bid placed prior to the live event will compete against the live bids. To maximize your chances of winning, enter realistic secret maximum bids on our site. Many of our proxy bidders are successful at winning lots in these auctions, and usually below their secret maximum. You can also place last minute bids directly with us by e-mailing or calling 1-866-835-3243. (Important note: Due to software and Internet latency, live bids may not register in time, so enter realistic proxy bids.)

    Signature® Floor Sessions
    Proxy bidding ends ten minutes prior to the session start time. Live Proxy bidding on Heritage Live starts 24 hours before the live session begins and continues through the session. During the live auction event, bidding in person is encouraged, and Heritage Live includes streaming audio and often video during the event.
    Track Item