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    Frederick and John W. Gans, Union and Confederate Brothers, Archive of Letters. A group of eleven letters, the majority written between Union soldier John W. Gans and his brother Confederate Frederick Gans. The letters are war-dated, from August 10, 1863 to February 23, 1864. There are a few other letters from cousins of the two men. John W. Gans enlisted as a private and was mustered into Battery A of the Kentucky 1st Light Artillery. He was arrested a handful of times due to desertion charges, and later was killed at the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. Unlike his brother, Frederick enlisted with the Confederate army, and served with the 5th Battery Arkansas Light Artillery. He was captured at Vicksburg, but was paroled some time around August 1863. Some of the letters from John Gans appear to have different handwriting, and his grammar and spelling gets noticeably worse throughout the year. Multiple spelling and grammar errors in all letters.

    John wrote to his brother in August 1863, soon after he was paroled. His letter, dated August 16, 1863, reads in part: "In your letter you do not say whether you was paroled at Vicksburg or not. When you write in answer to this I want you to let me know all the particulars in relative to the surrender of Vicksburg...We are anxiously looking for news from Virginia and Charleston. I expect that by the time this reaches you that the Army of the Cumberland will have advanced as there are rumors in camp that the Army is to make an advance into Alabama this week...I am still working for Dr Ames the Surgeon of our battery...I want you to write to be sure and give me all the news in and around Louisville, and tell me what you think of the rebellion and what the Southerners themselves think of the rebellion..."

    Two months later, after suffering from illness, John wrote again to Fred with details about an engagement with the rebels. In his October 18, 1863 letter, he details in part: "I had the Billious fever but I am getting better I have no important news to send to you as present. I haven't heard from the front for several days it wold bee to hard for mee to say what they are doing. They rebs has had a charge on Tennessee all the damage the men the taken one company of our Men at the Stone River Bridge and tore the bridge and our Men surrendered in [illegible] to them...they had our men in line to parole them and our men made a charge on them and taken them all back and run them away and followed them so close that they had to take out for Brags army without the [illegible] that had when they started the number captured and killed of their men numbered about 8 hundred..."

    The following winter, Fred wrote a letter to his brother and cousin John, with brief news of the draft. He was still at home in Louisville, Kentucky after his parole, and passed along his father's opinion on reenlistment. The letter, dated January 28, 1864, reads in part: "you request to no wether you should reinlist or not. Father says that you should not under any sercomstances reinlist for he wants that you to come home as soon as you can. And further more he thinks that you ott to no better than to reinlist for three years more. You request to no about the Draft. It is but very litter we can say about it as much as we no that is layed over for three months further..."

    John Gans got into some trouble with military officials after he had numerous charges of being absent without leave. He was seemingly court martialed a few times, and wrote about his experience in a short letter to his brother. Dated only 11th 1864, in part: "All you want to no about mi trial it. It was a general court marchel and a hard one and [illegible] docked 8 months half pay..."

    As mentioned, there are also a handful of letters from the Gans brothers' cousins, written to both Fred and John. In one such letter, William Snider, who had enlisted in the 5th Kentucky Infantry, wrote to Fred about their mutual friends who were in his regiment. Dated August 13, 1863, it reads in part: "thinking a few lines from a relative and friend would not meet with dislike. Though being opposed to the Principals for which you were fighting I still love you as much as ever and am inclined to think you did not join the Confederate Army very willingly, but regret to do so...There are several of your friends in my regiment who would like to see you. John Baker for one he wishd to ask you if I wrote what had become of Joseph Siers or Sears. He heard that he Joe was in Arkansas but knew not if he was in the Army or not. If you write let me know all about him as John would like to know...One other of your old friends in in my Company that is Fred Herns he is as fat as a buck he has often spoken of you to me wondering where you might be. He has always been healthy until last Fall while on our way to Louisville when he had his leg broken this is all that has happened him now going on three years...I think I will close as there is nothing worthy of interest going on this way beside I do not wish to make my first to long as you might get tired of it stile and further I might say something about the Confeds not pleasing to your mind and this I would be sorry to do..."

    A remarkable lot of letters from numerous family members who fought on opposing sides during the Civil War. Many times the war was categorized as the war of "brother against brother", and in this case that circumstance was a reality.

    Condition: Usual mail folds, with light toning at edges and folds. Some uneven edges. Varying degrees of soiling and foxing. Overall nicely legible.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2019
    14th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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