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    Union soldier's account of the Siege of Suffolk, with a map

    Three Letters by Union Private Moses M. Ordway, Including an April 28th Letter with Hand Drawn Map Written During the Siege of Suffolk. Three Letters by Union Private Moses M. Ordway, Including an April 28th Letter with Hand Drawn Map Written During the Siege of Suffolk. Ordway served as a private in the 40th Massachusetts, and was part of the Union forces surrounded by Longstreet's Confederate forces during the Siege of Suffolk from April 11 to May 4, 1863.

    Ordway's April 28, 1863 letter (with map) reads, in part: " ...I hardly know whether Suffolk is a city or not if it is not a city. It is a very large town...it is Secesh all over, most of the aristocratic looking establishments look deserted and closed probably before the rebellion. They were occupied by some of the F. F. V. [First Families of Virginia]. Occasionally you will see a ni**r taking care of a white child in the back yard or a sour secesh looking countenance pecking out by the corner of the blind. The city is under provost marshall law...Gen. Corcoran was in command of our part of...forces the other day. You have probably noticed...the account of his shooting. [Lt. Col. Edgar A.] Kimball [9th New York Zouaves] It happened at this place. We are surrounded...in the shape of a horse shoe with only one avenue for escape and that is the rail roads which is so guarded that they can not cut us off...Longstreet has been reinforced with 25,000 men from North Carolina...Longstreet sent word yesterday to Gen. Peck that if he did not evacuate before two o'clock he would shell the town...such stuff is played out. Whenever they want to take this place they can just wade in...they are mighty anxious to get Norfolk back in their possession again...we have nothing to do except go on picket...and but very little to eat."

    His map of the siege, shows the roads and railroads to Suffolk, the Nansemond River, several buildings, and the location of "gunboat fight of April 14th." Outside of the Union lines, "Rebel forces surrounding us are in these woods." The description under the map, reads, in part: "...this is nearly our position...the line is breastworks. The squares are forts and batteries...the two houses on the other side of the river. Those houses our batteries knocked to pieces pretty quick the other day."

    With two additional letters dated April 7 and May 15, 1863 with covers. May 15 (4 pages, 5" x 8") letter has a few light stains throughout; April 28 (4 pages with the map on a 5th page, 5" x 8") letter has light toning stray spots of foxing. April 7 (2 pages, 8" x 10") letter is clean and bright.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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