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    The mortal wounding of a dear friend during the Siege of Port Hudson

    Union Officer's Letter Describing the Death of His Good Friend During the Siege of Port Hudson. 8 pages, 5.25" x 8", "Before Port Hudson, [Louisiana], July 8, 1863". Written by 1st Lieutenant Frank [he signs only with his first name] who was apparently an engineer, concerning the death of his good friend Will who was killed by a sharpshooter during the Siege of Port Hudson. In small part: "I have been...busily engaged...since poor Will's death...now that I have just returned from a duty of peril...now in the hour of our country's triumph (Port Hudson has just surrendered)...for which poor Will long...worked...I will try to perform the hard duty of selecting the events of that day...I have seen so much of the horrors of war, recurs to me as a hideous nightmare. The gap on our right front which I had been assigned...so as to let me know how far to push the work. On the 26th of June, I went as usual into the gap and...found Will taking bearings with his compass. After some conversation...with him I sat down in the trench and was talking with another officer when I heard Will say...'I believe they've got me'. He was so cool...that I didn't understand him and said what? He replied 'I believe they've hit me' and ran towards me and dropped...he...had crept out to a detached hogshead and in stooping to get a sight through the interval...had exposed himself and received the fatal shot. I...sent immediately for a stretcher, surgeon and an ambulance...seeing that something must be done quickly to save his life...before I left the trench I noticed he had dropped his compass...I expressed a wish that someone would go bring it. A Lt...went for it and crawled to the place where poor Will was shot and immediately fell mortally wounded. The next moment was a horrible one: I had to rush to keep the other dying man from getting the attendance I had sent for Will. I succeeded...and getting a doctor who shook his head confirming my worst fears. I begged him to try...to save him...he said if I would get another surgeon...they told me he had died soon after I left. I went to the ambulance and had him sent...to camp and then rode...hurriedly to inspect the other trench and caught up to the ambulance...with Dr. Alexander and Mr. Jekyll's kind assistance I performed my sad duty and closed his eyes after we...send him to New Orleans. Mr. Jekyll's went with him to his grave in Greenwood Cemetery. Dr. Bacon...performed the service. I had intended to send the remains home but the weather was too warm...the ground in which he was buried I had to buy to prevent the grave being profaned. There are so many deaths now altho this was necessary...I tried to do my duty...all admired him for he was gallant and fearless...I loved him especially...he has been to me more than any other man could be and...I cant help feeling...as if I were responsible for his death for if it hadn't been for me he would never have come here in this accursed Dept...I have been in so many engagements small and great since I have been down here and have seen so many dead men, yet poor Will was the first I ever saw dying...before I had recovered from the ...shock of poor Will's death, I was ordered to Donaldsonville...to strengthen the works and advise the commanding officer. I arrived a few hours after the enemy had attacked...I found the garrison exhausted and nearly out of ammunition. The buildings is filled with wounded whose cried were heart rending...one huge grave filled with dead...I worked almost against hope to get the garrison in a state to make a decent defense...for eight more long days I stayed in that Channel house with constant alarms...ill feeling grew up in the garrison and one gloomy night the comd'y officer was murdered by one of the soldiers and died in great pain...never before...did I so fully realize its uncertainly...that God...has placed us in...I will settle Will's accounts as soon as possible...P. S. Vicksburg and Port Hudson being both taken and my captaincy being due, I hope to soon to come home up the Mississippi..." Worthy of further research to reveal who these two close friends were. Included is a full transcript of the letter. Bold ink, gently toned; otherwise near fine.


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    Auction Dates
    December, 2015
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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