DescriptionUnion Soldier's Letter Group by Nathan E. Cory of the Pennsylvania 101st Infantry. Twenty-five letters, all dated between December 14, 1861 September 16, 1863 by Sergeant Nathan E. Cory of Company C of the PA 101st Infantry. Cory enlisted on October 19, 1861 and served through the entire war, mustering out on June 25, 1865. Most of the letters are written to his brother-in-law Peter Bailey; and many include their original transmittal cover.
Cory is a young working-class soldier, and a lot of the content concerns money. With some content regarding skirmishing with the Rebs; the two letters with the most battle content also include sexual content. The first such letter (4 pages, 8" x 9.75") is dated April 11, 1863 and is written from "Camp of the 101st Pa. Vols. Near Newbern, N.C." In part: "... Gen. Foster is at Little Washington with some small force. I don't no how many but he is surrounded we was sent for reinforcements but the rebels had the river blockaded and we could not get up the river so we came back to Newbern and started a cross the country we got back here of the boat on the evening of the 7 and got orders. That Night at 9 o'clock for to report at Fosters warf... we crossed the Neuce river at 12 oclock we started for little Washington by land we went swift crick that is 20 miles but when we came there the bridge was burnt and went down the river 10 miles till another bridge and it was all swamps there was only one road to get in the rebels was across and had the bridge tore up. They was in there forts and we could not get at them. We Drove in there pickets we killed and wounded a bout 25 of them before they could get a cross. General Wessels says it was not managed right... I don't wan to have to go for we will have hard fighting. They have there forts acros the river and there is only one place we can plant our artillery that we can reach them and they have range of that place and they can Dismount all the canonens that we can plant..." He goes on to list the names of the officers in his regiment and adds a postscript: "Skin is plenty black and white just as you would chuse..." Beneath which he makes rudimentary drawings of male and female genitalia.
The second such letter is written from the same location and is dated April 27, 1863. Four pages, 4.75" x 7.5", on Union patriotic letterhead; in part: "... we was martched across to little Washington and we had a very hard martch for we could just keep close enough to the rebels to fight there rear guard when they heard that we was coming and Foster and Wesel was in comand they left... you wanted to know what I think of the war and the nigers I don't like ether of them a Dam bit but I think will be over in six months... my cock is only one inch long and it a has one black ring..."
Condition: All of the letters have flattened folds with light soiling and toning. The earliest letter in the group dated December 14, 1861 is missing the pictorial engraving, affecting a good amount of text on page two and the entire second sheet of the bifolium. Included with the group are 7 war-dated letters to Peter Bailey from his mother, and a receipt and letter from the 1880s.
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