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    Description

    Civil War Archive of Edward Horatio Graves, 10th Massachusetts Volunteers Regiment. The archive consists of 24 letters (three of which are unsigned) of various sizes and from various locations, between Edward Horatio Graves and his family and friends dating from March 31, 1857 to June 27, 1864. In the archive there are 9 letters (1 unsigned) from Graves to his mother, dating from June 26, 1861 to June 2, 1864. The remaining 15 letters are addressed to Graves from his mother, sister, friend Lou, and others. The archive also includes Graves' commission as First Lieutenant in the 10th Massachusetts Volunteers Regiment signed by Governor John A. Andrew, dated September 23, 1863.

    Graves' letters to his mother discuss his health, camp life, and the military situation. Graves' first letter to his mother, dated June 26, 1861, is from camp in Springfield, Massachusetts, five days after his regiment was organized. "Last Friday the 21st inst we were sworn into the U. S. Service and I suppose I am now a US soldier for the term of 3 years if not sooner discharged. I felt when I raised my hand that I was doing my duty and yet it seems rather hard to almost give ones life away but it is for a noble purpose and with a heart true to the cause no man can be derelict in duty." Graves' regiment was involved in the siege of Yorktown, which occurred from April 5 to May 4, 1862. In a letter to his mother, dated May 18 of that year, Graves recounts his brush with being shot by a Confederate sharpshooter. "Our Brigade was ordered to be temporarily detached from the Division to support Gen. Davidson's Brigade on the advance and we were encamped but 3/4th a mile from the Rebel entrenchments in front of Yorktown.... I went over to the scene of the engagements and climbed a tree and could plainly see the Rebel fortifications....I was soon compelled to relinquish my point of observation by the ominous sound of a bullet in rather unpleasant proximity to my head and I came down very quickly." Writing from Harrison's Landing, Virginia on August 3, Graves refers to his recent illness (not specified) and bemoans the lack of Northern volunteers. "You cannot imagine the amount of confidence that is placed in Gen. [George] McClellan by the soldiers and officers and the joint indignation manifested at the slow progress of enlistments at the north altho when looking upon our own trials and tribulations we cannot hardly blame them for refusing to leave comfortable homes. I see that Easthampton raised the quota required. I cannot consider it anything to the credit of the town that it can enlist men for $125 that couldn't enlist voluntarily....They ought not to be bought but forced if the country cannot be saved in any other way."

    During the late summer of 1862, Graves was hospitalized for an unspecified illness. Writing to his mother from a Washington, DC, hospital on September 10, 1862, Graves thanked his mother for sending him money to purchase food he could eat and defended the recent criticism of General McClellan. "I suppose you are as anxious as we are watching Stonewall Jackson with a great deal of interest. He seems to be almost invincible but give our little Mac a fair chance and we will have Mr. Jackson. The confidence in our General is daily increasing and let me tell you Mother another very important thing that Messrs. [Senator Charles] Sumner and [Senator Henry] Wilson are treated by many Union loving man here with the Scorn that their base treatment of McClellan deserves."

    Writing to his mother from camp near Falmouth, Virginia, on May 15, 1863, Graves makes it clear that his view of General Joseph Hooker is not a positive one in the wake of the Union defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville, which occurred May 2-5. "We anticipate moving again and whether we shall be successful or not I can form no idea. That we can still fight has been demonstrated but we shall probably be out generaled as we were on the last days fight. I think that Gen. Hooker has demonstrated that he is incompetent to Command so large a force. It is a well known fact that but 1/3 of our Army was engaged and that they were not fought with half the vigor that they might have been." On September 23, 1863, Graves received a commission from John Andrew, Governor of Massachusetts, as First Lieutenant in the 10th Massachusetts Regiment. Subsequent to his appointment, Graves was engaged with his regiment is several engagements, included the Battle of the Wilderness, which took place on May 5-7, 1864. Graves was wounded in the battle and ended up at the Douglas Hospital in Washington, DC. His last letter to his mother in the archive is dated June 2, 1864 and sent from Douglas Hospital. "You see that I am still here and I cannot see much improvement yet although I am now able to sit up 5 minutes to a time which will tend I think to strengthen me."

    Edward Horatio Graves (1839-1880) was born in Easthampton, Massachusetts. He saw active duty in the Civil War 10th Massachusetts Volunteers (assigned to the Army of the Potomac) in multiple campaigns between 1862-1864, and was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness. He was received a commission as 1st Lieutenant on September 23, 1863. He died in Chicago, Illinois.

    The 10th Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, was organized in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 21, 1861. It was involved in several military engagements in the Civil War, including the Battles of Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Seven Pines, Malvern Hill, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, the Wilderness, and Cold Harbor.

    Twelve letters are accompanied by transcriptions; also included are research notes on Graves' career and family tree.

    Condition: Letters have the usual folds, many have slight toning; overall good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
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