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    Description

    Union Soldier's Letters (2) by Dudley C. Mumford, Together with Two Letters Notifying the Family of His Death, a Fragment of His Regimental Flag, the 19th Massachusetts Volunteers, and an Inscribed Carte de Visite. A poignant grouping capturing the last days of the life of a young Union officer. Two letters by Mumford to his uncle Tom dated April 29 and May 27, 1864. The May 27 letter is eight pages with great Battle of the Wilderness content, 5" x 8", and is written from the "Skirmish line [of the] 19th Mass Vol So. Side North Anna River, May 27 [1864]". This is possibly the last letter home from Dudley. Writing in pencil: "I will try to give you an idea of what we have done in the past two weeks... We broke camp on the night of the 2nd and marched all night crossed the Rapidan River at day light next morning at 9 o'clock come upon Chancellorsville we lay there all day of the 4th all night our regt was on picket at 4 o'clock next morning we [illegible] again and made Todds Tavern from there to Wilderness when we [illegible] near heavy firing we het there at about 6 o'clock past fighting time we lay until about 6 o'clock nect morning when we wer orderd to advance we deployed & skirmished we advanced and forward through woods we soon found... line of battle ahead of us and we lay down the place was very thick with under brush and well might be called Wilderness we could hardly advance through it we lay there half a day our line had to lay down to escape the bullets which came over the other troops. Our Brigade commander could not find... where the rest of the Brigade was..." The letter is hurriedly written and difficult to read, but appears to be mainly troop movements and battle content leading up to the last days of Mumford's life.

    A two-page letter (5" x 8") dated May 31, 1864 written by John G.B. Adams, a 1st Lieutenant in the 19th Mass., to Mumford's father sends word of Mumford's death: "It is my painful duty to announce to you that your son Capt. Dudley C. Mumford of this Regiment was killed about 2 hours since upon the skirmish line of the Regiment. In him the Regiment has lost a brave and valuable officer, the writer a true and dear friend whose memory will be treasured..." A postscript describes his burial: "I personally attended his burial upon rising ground in front of our breastwork in rear of our skirmish line, We made a coffin of board & protected the body in every way possible." A second letter in a different hand is annotated as also being from Adams, goes into greater detail about his death: "The morning he was killed we were on the skirmish line, his company and mine were together. We were ordered to advance, and then we were ordered to charge the rifle pits. Dudley was in advance of his company leading them on. We took the pits, he being the first person in them, he had a gun in his hand at the time, and stood behind a tree and fired at the rebels as they were going over the field. As soon as he had fired he fell shot through the head by a sharpshooter. As soon as he fell I ran to him and took from his pocket the letters he had that morning received from Belle. He had always destroyed them before... The fire was very heavy at the time & we could not stand up, so four men from his company and myself crawled to him put him on a blanket & took him to the rear. He breathed about ten minutes after we got him to the rear. O sent for the Dr. at once in hopes that he might be roused enough to speak to me, but he died soon after the Dr. came. I then had him taken near the earthworks under a large tree so that we could find his grave at any time..." Together with the original transmittal envelope addressed to Br Mumford, with an embossed flag. Originally enclosed in the envelope was a fragment of a silk hand-painted regimental flag, being the bottom portion, measuring about 10" wide and 4" high - red boots against a blue field are visible.

    Also in this group is a carte de visite of Mumford, with J.W. Black studio backstamp; inscribed on the verso, "Your brother Dud / Alice." Lastly, the Mumford's obituary clipped from a newspaper.

    Condition: All letters have flattened folds with light soiling thereat. The CDV is in near fine condition, untrimmed with a clear image. The flag fragment is fragile, with a few separations in the fabric and ragged edges.



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    Auction Dates
    June, 2016
    12th Sunday
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