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Full Details for Lot 286

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Sale 38 Lot 286

CHASING MOSBY IN VIRGINIA Fine content grouping of six letters (one incomplete), from a Union officer "James" of the 17th U.S. Infantry to his girlfriend "Sarah", 34pp. 8vo., written from the field in Virginia from Dec. 17, 1863 to Apr. 29, 1864. Great content mentions executions, battles, spies, etc. In small part: "...Yesterday the 2nd Division were ordered out to see the execution of a deserter of the 11th Infantry...I have seen men shot down in battle very close to me but I never experienced the feeling as on this occasion when a prisoner was marched along in front of the lines previous to his execution knowing he was doomed to die. The prisoner (John McMann) was about twenty four years old...he seemed like an unfeeling man...[he] looked defiantly at both men and officers, which seemed to say almost...'Go to the devil all of you. I don't care'...until the bandage was over his eyes. Then I thought I saw a change. He did not hold his head so erect...we have enlisted over 1,900 men, but today we have not got over 200 men...we are surrounded by guerillas and every movement is watched. Our men sleep with their arms in their hands...no man is allowed to leave camp after dark...the guerillas came and took away one of our cavalrymen...he was a mere boy...Capt McKee was killed, two of them were taken prisoners...This man Clark had been one of the noted ones about our Camp. They came upon him suddenly whereupon Maj. McCabe ordered him to halt, and received the reply to fire and be Damned! He fired and the Rebel fell from his horse...Capt. McKee was a very good officer but he came to an untimely death. His body was robbed of everything even his boots... [following Spotsylvania Court House] the men fell very fast for a time...how resigned the wounded appeared. Not even a murmur escaped their lips. The Rebels set the woods on fire in the Wilderness on the first day's battle and many of our wounded were burned to death. I saw several bodies that were thus burned and they presented the most horrible spectacle...I loathe and despise such deeds of cruelty...the Negro portion of the Corps relieves the troops in this vicinity...one such man as we killed here two weeks since would drive a whole brigade of them...The man we killed here on the 13th was Flanery...we afterwards found a certificate concealed in his wallet signed by Old Mosby himself saying that Flanery belonged to the Partisan Rangers. It was pasted inside the wallet & was found when we cut the wallet in pieces, otherwise it would not have been discovered. I should like to send the pistol I captured...". In this final letter, James included a flower he picked for his sweetheart, which still remains present. A very good archive, and worth a little research to determine the writer's identity.
Estimate $ 600-800

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