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    Hadley Brothers of New Hampshire: Archive of Letters [Sharpshooters]. Large binder containing letters and related ephemera to-and-from three members of the Hadley family - a father and his two sons - both of whom served in the Union Army. The father, James W. Hadley, died on February 10, 1863. One son, Sylvester Hadley, was a Union sharpshooter. The other son, James Francis Hadley, also a sharpshooter, died on November 25, 1862. Both Francis and Sylvester served together in Co. F, 2nd Regt. U.S.S.S. Augur's Brigade, King's Division, and were residents of East Weare, N.H. There are 41 letters written by Sylvester to his father or brother, dating from November 28, 1861 to November 7, 1862. The locales include Camp Instruction, Alexandria, Arlington Heights and Culpeper, Many of these were written from hospital facilities or soldier "retreats", so it appears Sylvester had some health issues, principally rheumatism. The first letter in this grouping runs 13 pages and details the "History of the journey of the 2nd N.H. Co. of Sharpshooters to Camp Instruction from Concord, N.H. Thursday, November 28, 1861". Sylvester may be the same soldier listed in the records as Sylvester E. Hadley of Concord, N.H. who, on June 1, 1861, mustered in as a private in Company B 2nd Regt. N.H. Infantry, was wounded June 25, 1862 at Oak Grove, Virginia and deserted December 22, 1863 from Summit House General Hospital in Philadelphia. Sylvester couldn't hold back tears when his brother Francis and the rest of the regiment departed for the front, leaving him behind. He applied for a discharge and disability papers, but finally could not overcome the military bureaucracy and rejoined his regiment at Culpeper and Aquia Creek. Soon, however, we find him at King Street Hospital in Alexandria. "... You know... I was wounded at Sulpher Springs. my wound is not a very serious one... I could put up with it a great deal better if it had been caused by a Rebel bullet. as it is there will be some who will say I done it on purpose. you know a soldier does not get much sympathy when he gets accidentally wounded. There are so many that do it on purpose that some will think that every one does the same." (Hmm... draw your own conclusions on this one!) Some of Sylvester's letters are written in pen, others in pencil, generally in very good condition. His early letters had Congressional free franks inscribed, but he discontinued the practice when informed by brother Francis that such franks were worthless.

    There are 15 letters written by family members to Sylvester, all in the year 1862. These are 11 letters written by family members to Francis, also dated 1862. There are nine miscellaneous letters, dated 1862-1864, that came with the collection. There are also twenty-five loose transmittal envelopes.

    There are 25 letters written by Francis, primarily to his father, from late 1861 to the time of his death in 1862. The locales include: Camp of Instruction [Washington, D.C.], Alexandria, Bristow [VA], Falmouth, Fredericksburg and Cliffburne Hospital in Washington, D.C. Some excerpts: "One of the buglers in Company C Vermont stabbed himself with a bayonet just below the heart... he had a letter stating that his wife was engaged in bad business and it made him insane so he committed suicide... we have passed the rebel stronghold in safety and are on our way to Richmond instead of going down the river as we expected... Captain Caldwell's death was not a great loss to us but rather a blessing. he appropriated the companies savings to his own use cheating the Co. out of one or more hundred dollars... I have been where the balls whistled like hail but escaped unharmed. The first day at Bull Run our Co. went into the fight with only 11 men. the next day only 7 went in. the rest playing the coward and back out but to the honor of East Weare all her boys went in.. I am sick with Diphtheria... I have not been in any battle since Saturday at Bull Run... our Colonel of the Brigade at the battle of Antietam ... was wounded. our Lt. Col. is in Min[nesota] fighting Indians. We have no Major. Our Adjutant was killed and our Sargent Major wounded so we have not one field officer." There are four partial letters from Francis. In one, he says he is going to Col. Berdan's house for dinner. He then asks his father to have the bottom of the butt of his pistol engraved with his name ("it will probably cost 11 cents").

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
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