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    Two Letters from Laurence Ryan of the 63rd New York Infantry, Company D. First letter addressed to his childhood friend Jeremiah Duggan; second letter directed to Duggan's mother. Datelined "Watertown Arsenal, March 9th, 1864," Ryan writes of a Portland, Maine steamer disaster in which 30 people lost their lives when the ship struck a rock on 22 February 1864. Excerpt: "...I have been informed of the Armories getting slack...I would have been interested to hear the gifted orators you spoke about. The Rev. Dr. Cahill will lecture in our church at Brighton Wednesday Evening...I been to a wake last Saturday night of a father and 2 sons who were drowned in Portland of course you heard the disaster that had befallen the steamer Bohemian...The three I spoke of...have a number of respectable and wealthy friends here to mourn their loss..." Letter measures 7.75" x 10" and runs 4pp. Second letter, datelined "Watertown July 18, 1864," composed shortly before the regiment's late July engagement at Deep Bottom. Excerpt: "...I meant to inquire after your son Jeremiah...sending Ammunition and equipments to Baltimore and Washington to receive the invading rebels...writing to you to ascertain...if Jerry is or has been seriously ill..." Single page ink letter measures 7.75" x 10". Ryan mustered into Company D as a musician on 20 March 1864. He mustered out on June 30, 1865 in New York. Prior to the war, Ryan served in the garrison of the Watertown Arsenal, in Watertown, MA, near Boston. During the 19th century, the Watertown Arsenal, created by Capt. George Talcott in 1816, established a national reputation for its development of cast-iron guns.

    Condition: Both letters have mail folds, with pin holes of paper loss where folds intersect; stray staining and light soiling. July 18, 1864 letter has an area of ink staining where Ryan has crossed out a word.

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