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    [Battle of Gettysburg]. David F. Ferris Autograph Letter Signed. Eight pages, 5" x 8", Wheatland [Virginia], July 18, 1863, to his brother two weeks after the great battle. Ferris was a private in the 44th Regiment New York Volunteer Infantry. Army of the Potomac near Hagerstown, Maryland, "When we learned that the Rebels had recrossed the Potomac...," in their retreat from the North following the defeat at Gettysburg, his regiment was "...once more in motion..." in pursuit "...undoubtedly...to follow Lee on towards Richmond again. I do not think there will be another battle for a long time to come." The letter continues the following day, the Army of the Potomac still in pursuit of the rebels.

    Around the same time, riots had broken out in New York City over the impending draft. Ferris comments that there has been some "...disgraceful proceedings in N. York City lately. I think it is very poor encouragement for the Armies in the field, to have people at home get up another Rebellion...I could shoot a northern Copperhead & Rioter with a better relish than I could shoot a Rebel in arms this side of Mason' & Dixons' line."

    Continuing his narrative on July 21, he describes the carnage at Gettysburg: "We scattered ourselves around the woods...After we had picked our way over the dead & wounded...we found live Rebels any quantity of them who could either have shot us or taken us prisoners...These men seemed to be panic stricken, & were as much afraid of me...The seane [sic] which surrounded these men was enough to shake their courage. The mangled bodies of the dead & dieing [sic] lay in piles...and whenever there was a lull in the thunder of battle, which still ragged [sic] furiously on other parts of the field, the groans & oaths of the wounded grated harshly upon the ear. Many of the Rebel wounded thought they were going to be bayoneted on the spot & begged not to have us hurt them, and upon our insuring them that it was not our business to harm helpless men they seemed thankful..." Ferris survived the Battle of Gettysburg, but not the war. He was killed at Skunk's Hollow, Virginia, on March 31, 1865. Scattered spots of staining and foxing. Overall toning. With the original transmittal envelope.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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