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Full Details for Lot 278

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Sale 38 Lot 278

CAMP LAWTON AND ANDERSONVILLE POW LETTER GROUP A great group of three Union POW letters written by the Harriss brothers of Company A, 81st Illinois concerning their confinement at Camp Lawton and Andersonville, Georgia. On June 10, 1864, following a pitched battle with Confederate forces, a majority of the 81st Illinois was captured near Guntown, Mississippi. For the remainder of the war, both men were confined in prisons throughout the South including the infamous Andersonville Prison. The first war-date, 2pp. 8vo., letter is from Corp. Jordan Carroll Harriss while confined at Camp Lawton Prison near Millen, Georgia. An unnamed sergeant of the 120th Illinois promised to deliver the letter to Harriss' wife following his exchange. Apparently, the original must have been heavily damaged while being smuggled North, since the kind sergeant rewrote Harriss' missive using United State Sanitary Commission stationery, reading, in part: "Rote at Camp Parole, Annapolis, MD, Nov. 27, 1863[4], Camp Lawton, Ga., Nov. 12, 1864...Dear Wife this is the 4th letter we have writin since we were taken prisoners but have received none from home...nor any intelligence from Orson Marion. Rich'd Wilks, Ed Lipe...R[obert] Denny and one or two more of our company are here and for the present...are all well...as prisoners but a prison life...cannot be a contented one...some of the sick are going to be exchanged and...I will send this by one of them, probably a sargt of the 120 Ill...he will have the kindness to give you more information...remember us in your prayers...". In response to the above letter Harriss' wife hastened to reply sending a one-page letter describing her joy in hearing from him and giving him much family news. The wife's original "flag of truce" transmittal cover is included and is addressed: "Mr. Carroll Harriss, Co. A, 81st Regt. Ill., Infantry Vols. Prisoner of war, Savannah...". Both very good. Following their exchange Jordan's brother, Corp. Edward M. Harriss, wrote a 3pp. 4to. letter, in ink, Jacksonville, Fl., May 4, 1865 to his parents concerning his time in captivity. In part: "...Our kindly Heavenly father has...spaired your lives as He has mine...it is hardly necessary for me to write of all the hardships and suffering we had while in the hands of the vile sons of the...lower regions...our suffering was beyond description...we suffered in many ways of heat and cold, hunger and nakedness. The clothes we wore from home in March/64 were all I had till exchanged...we have drawn clothing...and our grub is first-rate...we have not heard from home since April 18th/64. we have wrote home two or three times since...I except it doubtful whether you ever received them...several of our co. boys died in Prison among them was Richard Wilks. He was sick a long time and suffered a great deal. Tell his folks that though his body lies beneath Georgia soil he lived a Christian life all through his imprisonment...we fear good [Pvt.] Orson [Thornton, Jordan's brother-in-law] was killed in the battle [indeed he was killed] as we have not since heard of him...". On the back of Edward's letter Jordan then adds a one-page letter to their parents basically recounting the same information as his brother. The original transmittal cover is included. Heavily damp stained, but legible, else very good. Less than a half dozen Union POW letters are known to exist from Camp Lawton making this grouping an extreme rarity.
Estimate $ 1,000-1,200

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