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    Description

    [Civil War] Vicksburg Campaign Letter Unsigned. Four pages, 7.75" x 10", "Camp opposite Vicksburg," January 25, 1863. Written by a Union soldier to his wife, Sarah, the letter details combat actions outside of the city of Vicksburg. It reads, in part:

    "The 29th Dec. our division (Gen Steeles) was ordered to make a charge on the enemy's rifle pits & batteries. We charged & were drove back with heavy loss. God grant I may never go on such another field, the rebel works were on a hiss & in front was an open field about a quarter mile wide & extending about half a mile in front of the secesh rifle pits - on our side was a bayou & trees felled to obstruct our passage. We charged across this & drove them out of their first rifle pits. We then started across the open field & then the seceshers opened on us with batteries in front & on the right & left from their rifle pits came a storm of bullets & worse than all the new regts in our rear opened on us & our own artillery threw shell on us. The troops in reserve failed to support the advance & we were obliged to retreat. Our loss was heavy but not near what I expected. When I went into that field I never expected to come out alive & it is a wonder to me how any of us escaped. Nearly every man in our regt had bullet holes through his clothes. I myself had half the cape of my overcoat torn off by a shell but I escaped unhurt. It was hard to see young fine looking men falling around me & to hear the groans of the wounded & dying. I trust I may never see the like again. I am perfectly willing to fight for my country but I want to see some chance for victory in that charge our regt lost over 200 men & several other regts suffered as bad."

    The letter goes on to give insight into racial matters between the army and the freed slaves of the area. He writes, in part: "President Lincoln's proclamation is not very well endured by the army here...We did not come to free slaves & we will not do it."

    This extraordinary letter not only gives the gruesome details of war, but insight into the northern perspective of the slavery question. Lightly toned along the creases of the folds. Text is clear and dark. Fine.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2011
    8th-9th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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