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    Description

    The Immortal 600 - Confederate prisoners held as human shields in front of Battery Wagner in Charleston, S.C.: Letter written by Capt. Bezaliel G. Brown, 7th Virginia Infantry.
    This 1 page letter in ink (that's all they were allowed) is headed, "Prisoner of War, Morris Island, S.C. Sept. 21st, 1864". Brown was wounded in his left leg and captured at the battle of Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863. He was sent to Johnson's Island and eventually Fort Delaware. From Fort Delaware he was sent to Hilton Head on August 20th, 1864 to be one of the "Immortal 600". The Union which had taken possession of Morris Island and Battery Wagner did not want the Confederates to fire on their troops stationed there. The North devised a plan to use Confederates as human shields so that the South would not fire on the island.

    Brown is writing home to his parents. He writes:

    Prison of War
    Morris Island S.C.
    Sept 21, 1864

    "Dear Parents,

    I write you this morning learning that there will be a flag of truce in a few days. Though I have nothing of interest that I can communicate to you. I would like to know if there is any chance to be exchanged soon if not I would like to have some socks and tobacco sent to me, also some eatables if you are allowed to do so. I understand from the U.S. Officer in charge of us that such things will be allowed us, but if you find it a difficult matter, do not trouble yourself as I have held out for fifteen months without, I will mater and make the best of it. I wrote you last week, also Sallie a week before, I hope you have heard from me before this. Mr. Jones who offered to furnish me with anything that I wished is now so far off and u we have but one mail in ten days. I thought best to write home for what I wished, if anything should happen to prevent me from meeting with you all again, but cannot say when. I am in a small tent with three other officers. We have a full view of Charleston. This leaves us all in tolerable health. Write as soon as you receive this. Direct your letter to me at Morris Island S.C. via Charleston. It does not require a US postage stamp. My love to all Your son,

    Bezaliel G. Brown"

    The Immortal 600 were held in a hastily built stockade on the beach. Interestingly they were guarded by the 54th Mass. Black regiment that played such a significant role in the capture of Battery Wagner (the movie "Glory). Like what Brown mentions in his letter the men were quartered in small tents. He was kept in confinement until October 23rd, when he was sent to Fort Pulaski near Savannah due to an attack of yellow fever in Charleston forcing the evacuation. Condition is fine with a few ink smudges. An extremely rare P.O.W. letter. From the Calvin Packard Civil War Battlefield Letter Collection.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    6th Sunday
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