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    Union Sergeant Major James Blakely Archive (KIA Chickamauga). Group of letters and photographs related to James Blakely who served in the 21st Regiment Ohio Volunteers, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, Army of the Cumberland. It includes sixteen war-time letters (two partial) written by Blakely to his wife (many with original transmittal envelopes), two letters written by family members, a Civil War period CDV of Blakely posed with Army chums and some post-war photographs of family members. The locales include: Camp Hamilton [TN], Paris [KY], Murfreesboro, Camp Harrington [Gallipolis] and Camp Taylor in Cleveland. The years range from 1861 to 1863. Blakely died at Chickamauga on September 20, 1863. Some excerpts: "... we are stationed about 200 miles from Cincinnati. the Union men are coming across from virginia daily begging for protection... We start for to try our hand on Bragg at Shelbyville. As we are the reserve we do not march until both flanks move... Bragg with as large an army as Rosecrans is never going to surrender it without resisting all in his power... tell John that if them rebel cusses that are aiming a raid into Penna. comes within reach of him to shoulder his old Betsey Jane and go in on is their intention to throw their entire force upon Rosecrans and drive him back and get possession of Tenn and part of Kentucky in order to get provisions... we lay on the Bank of the river until the rebel came in a solid column on the opposite side... we... fired a volly into them and then charged across the river and in 40 minutes from that time we killed 2000... A heavy force of Infantry Artillery and Cavalry started out on an expedition against Van Dorn. he is about 30 miles from here with a heavy force... the cannons are thundering all along the lines and we look for a general engagement... our loss in the Whole army will not be short of 15000. the rebels must have lost from 20 to 25000 the way we slaughtered them... if the dead had nothing on their person stating where they belonged to such a Regt or Division they just threw them in head and tail without any head board or inscription to tell where they belonged or who they were and as the County is almost converted into a graveyard one might as well look for a needle in a hay stack as to try to trace them."

    The best letter in the group is dated January 10, 1863 and runs six pages on large sheets (lacking conclusion), describing in great detail the Battle of Murfreesboro or Stones River. One juicy tid-bit: "When we had gained our point the Rebels were just about 30 yards from us. We got the first fire on them. They then threw themselves on the ground and commenced firing as they lay thinking that on account of being so close that we would not shoot... But they were mistaken for our boys took as deliberate aim as though they were shooting squirrels and every time they shot you could see the dust fly out of their coats. The regiment that came in front of us was a fancy Regiment called the Rock City Guards organized at Nashville and famous for being so victorious at Ft. Donelson Shilo and several other places. The reasons of that was they never had met with the 21st. it got a little to hot for them at last and what were left of them started to run and then lord if you had just seen how we slaughtered them. I do not think that 50 of the whole Regiment escaped... I had a Breach loading Sharps Rifle and every time I pulled on the trigger a Butternut Bit the dust. I had the advantage of most of them. I could load and fire 5 times a minute." The battle lasted three days. The letter describes day one and two. The letters are generally quite legible. Blakely had a fine sense of humor which comes to the surface in many of his letters. His failure to survive the conflict is quite poignant.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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