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    [Civil War]. Group of Two Memoirs of Mrs. William H. Bailey. In the first, Mrs. Bailey transcribes the memoirs of her husband, a private in the 36th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. The second consists of Mrs. Bailey's own history, written at the request of her granddaughter.

    William H. Bailey, a 38 year old Massachusetts farmer with four boys and an ardent abolitionist, felt the call of duty "...when we heard that our old flagg [sic] had been fired upon at fort Sumpter [sic], That the south had actually risen in rebellion against the best government on earth, why our blood boiled, and our fingers tingled for the fray." In his "Reminisences [sic] of my experience In The Great Rebellion," he [she] writes: "It commenced...on a snug little farm in North Upton, Mass. when the call of our noble President Abraham Lincoln for 300,000 more troops roused every heart that had a spark of patriotism in it. In that call we heard the poor bondmans loud bitter cry...Perhaps we felt this more sensitively then many for among the first principles taught us was hatred to American Slavery." Bailey first finds himself at Camp Wool in Worcester "...about three weeks from thence to Readville, from which place we embarked for Washington..." Their first experience of the horrors of war came near Antietam: "Our next move was for Antitetam [sic]. On, on now to the front. A terible [sic] battle is rageing [sic]. We hear the cannon's roar...there lies a poor Soldier, left by the wayside..." By the time they reached the battlefield, the fighting was over, but the carnage remained.

    Bailey, however, would have plenty of opportunity to experience combat for himself. At Fredericksburg: "Terible [sic] was the slaughter of our men there"; at Vicksburg: "Laid siege to the place. It stood about three weeks siege, when on the second of july up went the white flagg [sic]...We heard immediately of another grand victory at Gettysburg. It was a great day"; during the Overland Campaign: "...we went to the Wilderness, had a fearful battle there...we swung around to Spotsulvania [sic]...Think we got the worst of it here...had a fearful slaughter at Spotsylvania. Swung round to Cold Harbour. Another terible [sic] fight...swung around again to North Anna...It seemed that human life was valued cheeply [sic] But our Grant was bound to fight it out if it took all summer."; and at the Siege of Petersburg: "On the 17 we were ordered to the front. Terible [sic] fighting all day...found the ground covered with the wounded and dead. Oh war how terible [sic]." This only touches the surface of the information found within.

    Mrs. Bailey tells of her own experiences during the war in her memoir: "...terible [sic] news came. Fort Sumpter [sic] had been fired upon our old flagg [sic] torn by rebel hands. Every true northern heart was stired [sic], among the rest my companion." She consents to her husband's desire to enlist for she is also an abolitionist: "The south had risen in open rebellion...and all to preserve American Slavery. For though our constitution read that all men were created free and equal...still the humiliating fact remained that 3,000,000 of our countrymen were held as chatels [sic]. We at the north had bloted [sic] out the stain. But the south retained it..." She discusses life at home during the war as well as her husband's exploits at the front.

    Beautifully written, in an almost poetic style, these two memoirs are fascinating reads. Mrs. Bailey's personal memoir has sustained some damage to the binding, with several pages detached from the textblock. Her transcription of her husband's memoirs is also damaged on the edges of a few pages with a few spots of text loss.


    Estimate: $960 - up.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    8th Saturday
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