May 2022 Auction Ends Thursday, May 26th, 5pm Pacific


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/26/2022
Lot of 13 Civil War letters by John Underhill of the 10th New York Cavalry, Co. B, with content regarding the numerous battles and skirmishes he was involved in, as well as some humorous observations and anecdotes. All letters are addressed to his friend Couly Drake in Erie County, New York, composed in pen, and with 10 of the 13 letters accompanied by covers.

Underhill was first encamped at Gettysburg at the start of the war. He writes about military life and guerrillas in the first few letters, as well as his desire to be a Confederate spy: ''...Thare is a good deal of swindleing a going on here. The rations they have got one man in the gard house for setting up a pettan and the capt came thare askin him for the list of names and he told him that he could not have them. The capt told him that he should take his pay from him...Well badly I want them to arm and equipt me...let me go whare I am minde to and thare will be right strait to the South as a spy and nothing else. I believe I can just go all a round among them as a Rebel friend...''

In a letter dated 18 May 1864, Underhill describes heavy fighting around Richmond, including the detailed killing of a General - likely General Alexander Hays, who died during the Battle of the Wilderness. He writes, ''wee have been a fighting and I have had the good luck to escape the bullets so far, but I don't no how long this good luck will last. Wee are at present under cover of the gun boats on the James River arived here last night. Don't no where wee shall go from here. Couley, wee have been on the inside of the first line of fortified workes up Richmond...Wee had a hard fight thare but came out all right with a slite loss. Wee had to leave our wounded in the hands of the Rebs but wee drest those wounds before leaving them. The Rebs put torpedos in the road, blown up the colum when they cam a long but it did not work. Will it only kild one...Wee had a scout with us that new it and he never told us of it and so the general just had six bullets put through him. I guess that he wont lead another Yankee colum into a snare. We burned all those railroads stations all those cars loaded with comisary stores for Old Lee's army burnt all and wee had a high time I tell you...''

In another letter dated 25 June 1864, Underhill mentions the killing of Private John Vail, also in Co. B, and the heavy fighting during the Overland Campaign, ''Wee have been in I don't no how many messes this spring but have not had but one man kild out right from my co. and that was a man by the name of John Vail from Collines, but wee have had lots kild and wounded in the regt. Wee have had quite a no wounded in our co...if you would onley see thare works in the wilderness it would surprise yu to see how men could storm such works and line...Doo you think they will draft there this sumer? I hope they will and fetch some of them dead beets...''

In a 7 August 1864 letter, Underhill describes a close call when his regiment was the advance of the entire cavalry corps under General Sheridan: ''Yes, wee have ben at the front every since wee crost the Rapadan last Spring on one of the flanks of the armey. I suppose you saw it in the paper that Sheridan's Cavelry moved a cross the James River in VA with the second corp to the right of the armey didn't you? Well our regt was on the advance of the whole cav corp that day and our battalion was send to Malver Hill while on the rout the Rebs broke threw our lines and cut us off from the main colum and wee had to get out the best way wee could but wee came out all safe and sound that night, much to the surprise of our general. He complymented us very hiley for getting so well and not loosing a man but we captured one Reb Major and one private and brot them out all safe. Our brigaid captured the battle flag. Couley it was the prettyest flag that I ever saw in my life...Well Couley, what doo the people think about the war doo they think it is a ever a going to end or not? Well if the folks at home dont take hold and doo something...this summer and winter the thing will smash up next spring when the spring campayn opens...Doo you think thare will bee a change in the administration this fall and doo you think that the Republican Party will have two candidates in the field...''

In a letter dated 2 March 1865, Underhill wants to personally conscript men who haven't served, ''...I am in hopes they will draft and fetch out some of them damd cowardly devvels. I wish I could bee thare to help conscript them...That is the way the rebs go when they go a conscripting. They just come up to a man what is your name so and so. Well I have the papers for you come a long and he has to go...'' Underhill's letters are interesting and enjoyable to read, despite his sometimes poor spelling. Very good condition. Accompanied by near full transcriptions.
13 Civil War Letters by a Soldier in the Heavy Fighting 10th New York Cavalry -- ''...the general just had six bullets put through him. I guess that he wont lead another Yankee colum into a snare...''
13 Civil War Letters by a Soldier in the Heavy Fighting 10th New York Cavalry -- ''...the general just had six bullets put through him. I guess that he wont lead another Yankee colum into a snare...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $4,375
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, May 26, 2022.
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