DescriptionUnion Sailor Andrew S. Burt War-Dated Letters (2) together with four letters from his father. Both of Andrew's letters were written while aboard the U.S. Gunboat Louisville and are addressed to his aunt, Sarah P. Creter of Ohio. The first letter is three pages, 7.75"x 10", and is dated April 24, 1862. In part: "...I have been on this boat ever since the 2d of March...this is the Navy that I am in and a great deal better than the Army...we have no marching through mud & rain...at first I did not like the boats...I enlisted for one year...I have wished several times that I had staid [sic] at home...there was 12 of us that come from Van Wert...we were all received & put on the Cincinnati...we staid [sic] on the Cincinnati two weeks when five of us were transferred to this boat...2 of the men deserted & in about 2 weeks...the other two were discharged as unfit...our boat was not at the [Island] No. 10 fight. We were guarding Hickman...for fear the rebels would come in and burn the place...at the No. 10 fight, there would not have been any shaking...on my part for I would like to help pepper the secesh...it is fun to work these guns...I would like to come & get the other boys to come...we will not get to go very far down the river as we have been stationed here & have the river to keep open as far down as New Madrid. We have not been any further down than Hickman...we have 13 heavy guns on our boat and they make some noise...our boat has the name of being the fastest running boat in the fleet...and is well officered..." With archival tape repairs occurring at center fold of pages 2 and 4; a few stray stains.
Burt's second letter to his aunt runs four pages long (7" x 9") and is dated June 3rd & 4, 1862, with good battle content regarding the Union fleet's siege and bombardment of Fort Pillow, Tennessee, which was evacuated over the night of June 4, 1862. In part: "U. S. Gunboat Louisville, above Fort Pillow...I am stationed at one of our 30 pdr Parrott guns which heave a shot or shell 3 1/2 miles with ease...we tried their throwing propensities at Hickman, which is below Columbus [Kentucky]...we are now 125 miles from Hickman down the river, there is...besides ours...Benton, Pittsburgh, Cairo, Carondelet, Mound City & St. Louis besides 10 or 12 rams, 6 tugs & any amount of transports...there are 15 of those large 13 inch mortars here too. 2 of them are towed down every morning...when they blaze away all day at the rebel fort. June 4th. Last night three of our rams went down past the point in sight of the rebel fort. They fired at the rams but none of their shots hit. After our rams came back 2 of the rebel boats come up to see what we were doing when 2 of our gunboats & 2 mortars opened fire on them...you ought to have seen them skedaddle. The shells burst right over them and we think some of them hit them as they were in such a hurry to get back to their forts. Today there is a brisk firing kept up on both sides. 2 rebel soldiers come to the river...with a white flag. Our boat went after them and brought them aboard. They deserted from the fort...and have been in the woods...they say the rebels are leaving and that all the guns are spiked...and they are the guns that they are firing with today...provisions were so scarce at the fort...the want to take the oath and work on these boats until the war is over...we will have possession of the fort before Sunday..." Soiling and wear throughout, with usual mail folds. Very bold ink and highly legible.
Together with four letters written to Burt by his father, D.W. Burt, totaling 12 pages (all sheets 8" x 12.5") sending news from home as well as the war. In a letter dated April 17, 1862, his father recounts the losses suffered by the 46th Ohio at the Battle of Shiloh: "...we would get a list of the dead & wounded at the battle of Pittsburg Landing...we would have sad news from the Van Wert boys. Yesterday it come all through before we herd that the 46 had suffered very much...and herd by Cole's boy that Phillip Glenn was killed [during] the first round...Glenn was the only one killed out of his old Co. [and] some 10 or 12 wounded. Scott has written...that there was none killed but 10 or 15 of his men wounded. There is a report that [Pvt. Joseph] Alexander [Co. H, 46th Ohio] was wounded in the head & that [Joshua W.] Heath [46th Ohio] was killed. Heath had but 7 men left of his company that was not killed or wounded & missing...2 wounded got home yesterday. Gipe shot through the arm & Louis shot through the shoulder. One of the Miers boys had his toes shot...off with a shell, several I heard of losing arms, legs & etc. They expect several of the wounded home on the afternoon train... Doc says...that his clothes are full of bullet holes...the 30th Indiana from Ft. Wayne suffered dreadfully. Col. Bass that used to own the foundry & machinery shop that RR Co. bought...was killed and several of his men & some 100 wounded...Ohio, Indiana, Illinois & Iowa suffered more in this battle than any before..." Another letter dated February 1, 1863, sends news the many wounded and dead, and mentions Murfreesboro and Vicksburg.
All letters have the usual mail folds, with some light soiling to exterior pages, and tiny separations occurring at some folds.
Partial transcriptions of letters to Andrew S. Burt from his father included in this lot:
Two pages, 8" x 12.5". "Van Wert, [Ohio], Feb. 25, 1862. glad to hear that you got safe to Cairo & on the gunboat Cincinnati. See by yesterday's paper that you went to Columbus, [Kentucky which was fortified by CSA Gen. Polk].I expect your hair began to raise.when you come in sight of Columbus.if there is no fighting at Columbus.you will not have much heavy fighting to do. If you all come in battle I hope you & the Van Wert boys will stand to the work & distinguish yourselves. Dan Miskimmins is in the 80th Ohio.Welling was at Fort Donelson fight.young Evers & some others would go to Cairo if they had some passes. There has been n passes sent to them.Blumer's son is on the gun Boat Tylor or Tailor.every one in town is very anxious to hear from you and everyone I hear say anything about it says that it is the way & place they would like to go. I have no doubt there could be 20 or 30 men got in this county to go on gunboats.I saw Ever's his morning he says he has 3 men that will go with him to the gunboats if you can get passes. He wants you to do all you can to get them on your boat." Usual mail folds, with light creasing. Uneven toning, particularly dark in small panel on second page.
Four pages, 8" x 12.5"; Van Wert, [Ohio], March 9, 1862. In part: ".the young man that is working for us.Jas. Porter.says he was at Camp Chase & was discharged because they could not fill the company he was in & two companies [were] consolidated which made more men than was needed.I half think he deserted.Uncle John says Dan [Miskimmins, 80th Ohio] wanted to go and would go if he had to runaway. In fact he did runaway and go to camp. Uncle John says he could have brought him back.but thought best to let him go and be satisfied. I am very sorry you went. I told you that you was too young & would see hardships that you never dreamt of.[now] you can see a good deal of the world & human nature that you could not see at home & I hope [you will] help drive the Rebels from our Western Rivers. I hope.that it can be done in a few months.tell us.all about your boat, what you have to do, how you handle 84 lbs shells.[and] how much powder it takes for a load.how many men is there at one gun.the Rev. Polk was too sharp for the Fighting Deacon.to let him slip off from Columbus, [Kentucky].[Admiral] Foote wanted to fight.there is no use whining as Dempsey is in [his] letters.he gets no sympathy. Everyone is pleased that he has a master for he never had one. I hope he will come home a better boy.there is a report that Jake Cable is dead, died in hospital in Ky.the Rails broke every place. They are going to put down a great of new iron & gravel the track.Dr. Smith's regiment is at Paducah.mother heard that young Cable died with homesickness.some days there is 2 or 3 men here wanting pole jobs." Usual mail folds, with soiling on page 4. Tiny separations and pin holes occurring where folds cross.
Two pages, 8" x 12.5"; Van Wert, [Ohio], April 17, 1862. In part: ".we would get a list of the dead & wounded at the battle of Pittsburg Landing.we would have sad news from the Van Wert boys. Yesterday it come all through before we herd that the 46 had suffered very much.and herd by Cole's boy that Phillip Glenn [Co. K, 46th Ohio. He is buried in the Shiloh National Cemetery.] was killed [during] the first round.Glenn was the only one killed out of his old Co. [and] some 10 or 12 wounded. Scott has written.that there was none killed but 10 or 15 of his men wounded. There is a report that [Pvt. Joseph] Alexander [Co. H, 46th Ohio] was wounded in the head & that [Joshua W.] Heath [46th Ohio] was killed. Heath had but 7 men left of his company that was not killed or wounded & missing.2 wounded got home yesterday. Gipe shot through the arm & Louis shot through the shoulder. One of the Miers boys had his toes shot.off with a shell, several I heard of losing arms, legs & etc. They expect several of the wounded home on the afternoon train. Bocke Smith lost all his clothes & baggage as the most of his company. Doc says.that his clothes are full of bullet holes.the 30th Indiana from Ft. Wayne suffered dreadfully. Col. Bass that used to own the foundry & machinery shop that RR Co. bought.was killed and several of his men & some 100 wounded.Ohio, Indiana, Illinois & Iowa suffered more in this battle than any before.I have not herd wether the 80 Ohio Regiment was in the fight or the 76 that Welling is in. That Reg suffered veer much but was not in the first days fight. Fineforke company got up just as the fight was over.I think there will be a dreadful fight at Corinth.our western boys will clean out the Secesh from that country.several transports had left St. Louis for Fort Pillow.or Memphis.I hope they [the rebels] may be cleaned off the Mississippi River.if your boat is not reliable as far as machinery is concerned you may remain at Hickman.that is a very important point as long as they hold Corinth.I saw by the papers that some of our men was poisoned at Columbus, Ky.be careful when you are on shore.that you are not shot or taken prisoner.[they] will do anything to destroy our men." Usual mail folds, with a few stray ink stains, and tiny separations occurring where folds meet.
Four pages, 8" x 12.5"; Van Wert, [Ohio], Feb. 1, 1863. In part: ".your letter will be printed this week. I will send you a paper with it in it.it is a very good letter as a good description of the fight [at Arkansas post].I have not seen the Louisville mentioned since the fight. The Dekalb & Cairo.went up the White River. I expect before this you have all got down the river near to Vicksburg & possibly are fighting.the land forces should run up the Yazoo and strike for Jackson & cut the Railroad & come in that way.to get behind the batteries, rifle pits & not run in to traps that the enemy have set for our army. If we can cut off the RR & supplies & force them to fight a fair fight we can thrust them.I hope our generals will do it with as little loss of blood as possible. We must get behind them.the remains of Capt. Scott got here Wednesday night. He was buried Thursday by the Odd Fellows.I saw them open the coffin. He was as black as a negrow. He died with the erysipelas which set in two or three days after he was wounded.Anna found her husband on the battlefield near Murfreesborough.so badly hurt that he could not be moved. He was shot through the bowels & though the hip near the joint. They think he will live but be a cripple. There was a great many killed & wounded from Coshocton Co. Asa Hillyer, Murphey, John Hislip son, Dr. Williamson's son was wounded, had his leg cut off [and] died since.W. Wilson was shot with buckshot, will get well. George Meck Jennings that lived near your Uncle Jim was wounded. Dave Mafois is in Cincinnati. He can not get a furlow. So many run or stay away.that they hold onto them.Ms. Linn is very uneasy about Cornelius. He was missing at the battle of Murfreesborough. They think he is a prisoner.I saw one account.that there would be no attack on Vicksburgh for one month and very likely not before two months.Ben & Jess have sold out their sutler stores and are at home.the RR has more than it can do. The tracks in very bad order, trains off often.I am afraid there is more blood to flow, more suffering, destruction & death in store for the country.it may be years before the old flag floats over every state unmolested.I am proud that you have done your whole duty to the country of your birth to try to up hold that government & its laws; if slavery is to rule this land.right will prevail. We must gain the day.& punish the ring leaders if it takes years to do it. The Democrats.are just as good secessionists as Jeff Davis.I wish they were all at the South.Old Abe is turning out of the army all the officers that have been helping Jeff Davis more than the north. I hope he will keep on until every man that is not in favor of putting down the Rebellion.[and] Slavery.will be kicked out and made to shoulder a musket.beseech slavery has go to come down if you give them a good thrashing at Vicksburgh." Usual mail folds, with light soiling on page one, and small separations occurring where folds cross.
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