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Tense and interesting archive of over 50 Civil War letters, the vast majority written by Jacob ''Jake'' David Minton of the 67th Ohio Infantry, Co. H, a sergeant who died from wounds incurred during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner. In addition to Minton's letters, five additional letters from other soldiers are included, all of whom write Minton's family concerning his wound, decline and eventual death.

Letters to his parents and sister begin on 7 November 1861, the day Minton, aged 20, musters into the Army. His regiment had the first taste of combat in March 1862 at the First Battle of Kernstown, of which Minton writes, ''...our regt were called into line and informed that Old Jackson was coming to attack us at Winchester. The boys all leaped for joy at the prospect of having a battle with him, every man being on hand. In fifteen minutes we were on the field of battle deployed as skirmishers. Our regt being first on the ground...they opened their cannon upon us and several of their shells passed direct through our ranks. This began to make our eyes hang out, but our batteries comeing they soon silenced them for the night. Our loss was one killed and Gen. Shields was slightly wounded in the arm. The rebels moved back to a small place called Currents Town. Our company and two others were placed as an advance guard. We had no blankets and it was very cold. Also no supper to stiffen our backs. At about ten on Sunday they attacked us again, by this time our division were all on hand. It was evident that they were going to make a desperate effort. They had heard that we had but two regts at Winchester which gave them some courage. Our batteries were immediately placed and our regt had the honor to guard the best one on the field throughout the day. (Dammis Battery of regulars). We soon made them take to their runners, that is move their cannon back. Our advancing as they retreated. In this way it continued till about four o'clock when we came to a narrow valley. Their troops on one side and ours on the other. It was dreadful to hear the hum of their balls passing in every direction about us, but to hear ours respond to them was glorious. At this point they were evidently getting a much better position than we had, they being shielded by heavy timber. At this critical time we were ordered all hands to charge upon them. We crossed the valley on double quick and many of us faster, their grape and bomb shells bursting right in our midst, but not a man was killed. It seemed like we were protected by the Almighty. Their batteries soon became useless to them. Our infantry opened a dreadful fire upon them and the two foes fought face to face, each one seeming determined to hold their ground. At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds. On catching stragglers they would throw up their hands and pray us not to shoot them. We told them not to fear. It was night and we had to be upon the ground with nothing to eat and no blankets. Our killed is estimated to be 105. The enemies 550 and 500 taken prisoners. It is quite singular but nearly all of the rebles were shot in the head. I gave them twenty rounds. George Parsons is wounded in the calf of his leg, but nothing serious. I think the rebles say Bull Run was not a comparison to what they suffered here. It is said to be the hardest battle fought yet in Virginia...JD Minton''.

Minton's next battle is from July 1862 at Harrison's Landing, Virginia, where McClellan's army retreated under the protection of the gunboats moored on James River after the Seven Days Battles. Minton writes on 16 July, ''My Dear Mother...We are encamped on the north banks of the James River and on its smooth surface can be seen the Monitor, the Gallena, and many other gunboats, which hurl their death killing missiles clear beyond our pickets and keep wily foe in constant fear...On the morning of the 4th our regiment was somewhat surprised by a band of sesesh cavalrymen who poured a volley into the midst of us, doing great execution for a single volley, killing two on the spot and wounding eight others. At the foot of Company B and at the head of Company H, stood a man which resembled John Parsons very much. At the instant the volley came, he fell mortally wounded at my feet. I turned to John Henry...and said John Parsons is killed. In an instant I thought of his dear family at home of whom he talks so often and said to myself what sorrow has come to that little home. Meanwhile J H and I made preparations to carry away the dying man and upon going to the body which lie upon its face, we turned it over and found that the unfortunate victim was not John Parsons, but the one of which I spoke. The ball went on the wander and came out under his left arm. He lived only a few hours. This took place about three o'clock in the afternoon of the 4th of July...JD Minton''.

On 13 July 1863, Minton reports on the First Battle of Fort Wagner, less than one week before he was wounded at the Second Battle. Letter reads, ''Since I last wrote to you we have been engaged in active military operations...Our artillery opening at daybreak in the morning, We had fifty tremendous siege guns in position. The enemy were completely taken by surprise and after an action of 4 1/2 hours, all the enemies guns were silenced. One infantry charged across the river in small boats captured all the enemies artillery and three hundred prisoners. The Rebs left all their guns without spiking and fled for dear life. Our loss in wounded is large, but completely few were killed. I cannot tell how many of the enemy were killed, but their loss is very heavy. I am most on the battle field. The heavy guns of Sumpter... are constantly shelling our camp, but with little effect. Our Monitors are paying them back with as much spirit as the warm weather will admit of. We are getting our siege guns in position to bombard Ft. Wagner. This fort is on the extreme point of this island, it is nothing but a sand fort and can be easily taken. We shall then have complete possession of this island...The news from the north is very encouraging to us. Vicksburg taken and Lee's Grand army badly cut to pieces...Our regiment were on picket seven days and nights and during the bombardment our regt. was the only regt. under the enemies fire. We had comb proofs made to protect us from the shell, fortunately we have not yet lost a man...''

Then in late July through September, 1863, several graphic and poignant letters from fellow soldiers are included, informing the family of Minton's wound and eventual death. Letter by John H. Whitehead, also of Co. H, reads in part, ''...He was wounded on the evening of the 18th while storming the Rebel Fort Wagner. A grape shot struck him near the belly in the leg, The wound is very serious. The Dr's think he will have a doubtful recovery. The shot passed so near the effemoral artery that infection and warm weather may cause suffering, if such be the case he will soon bleed to death. He fell before he reached the works. I being more fortunate succeeded in mounting the entrenchments but only to witness human slaughter and a general repulse...Our regt. Lost in killed, wounded, & missing 129. Only 300 being engaged...''

Another letter by Henry B. Dummer of the 115th New York Infantry, who was attending to Minton in the hospital, reads in part, ''...last evening I received a letter from you to him, but he will not read it. He had been delirious for a long time previous so I read the letter myself and I can assure I felt pained to think that Jacob was failing so fast. His wound was a fatal one. The ball passed in the right side of his groin obliquely completely severing the utherea and coming out in the rear of the left hip thus leaving him in a condition that could not be healed, but he bore his suffering like a hero. He was as patient as a lamb, but he has gone. He died this morning about 8 o'clock. His suffering time is over. Let us trust in God he does all things well. We gave him a decent soldiers burial and shall put a board up to his grave to mark the spot where lies a brave soldier. His things are in care of the Dr. in charge. He lost most of his stuff before he came here, but I must close by wishing you strength...''

Before Minton's passing, he reveals himself to be a young soldier of high integrity, entrusted with regimental mail duties, and brave to fight. He writes on 26 December 1861, shortly after his enlistment, ''...There are four hundred sesech prisoners kept here. The smallpox and measels rages among them. Two of them died yesterday and one this morning. Poor fellows. They look down hearted enough, I can't help feeling for them notwithstanding they are our enemies...''

On 11 January 1862, he writes a poignant letter to his mother, contemplating his own death, ''...I was much surprised to hear of Henry Rudesets death. It brings to my mind the mournful thought that I to may be brought to my home under the same heartrending circumstances. I hope and pray, dear mother, that such is not my destiny. I hope after the war is over to come home and enjoy many happy days with you...'' On 10 March 1862 he writes from Martinsburg, [West] Virginia: ''...The Rebbles are thick as this place but we have them under our thumbs pretty badly...There are remnants of sixty engines and two hundred passenger and freight cars which they burned besides utterly destroying a depot fully as large as the one at Toledo...JD Minton''.

On 16 March 1862, he writes to his Father, ''...We left Martinsburg on Tuesday of last week with the expectation of having a great battle at their place for the sesesh were strong in number and well fortified, but they heard that the Yankees were comeing and fled on double quick back on Strasburg. Our scouts say that this place is well fortified and that they will more than likely stand in a battle...Secession prisoners which our troops have taken say that the South are whiped, but not bad enough to own the corn yet...Winchester is the third city of this state and is the largest and most handsome of any I ever saw, but it shows the sad effect of war at present. Some of the inhabitants seem to be mighty glad to see the old flag floating over their heads again. Others look rather down in the mouth about it...We are in the first brigade of Gen. Shields Division. It is estimated that there are 80,000 troops within ten or twelve miles of this place. I don't wonder at the rebles being somewhat alarmed about the Yankees. We have confiscated two negro men to do our cooking and washing for the company. We are bound to free them when the war is over. They say 'old massas never see dis black individual any more'...''

In August 1862 from Yorktown, Virginia, Minton writes a letter critical of General McClellan's command, ''...We are now just where McClellan started with his grand army last spring, not one whit better off for the 60 or 70 thousand lives which have been lost and the millions of money spent in carrying on the campaign. When McClellan left here last spring, he was commander of the grandest and best equipped army ever known. Everything that a gen could wish was supplied him, but the whole thing is a failure from beginning to end and the grand army to day, here under cover of the noble gunboats for safety. It is reported that McClellan has resigned. I hope so for I would not consider him fit for a corporal in our regiment...'' He continues a few days later, ''...When we came to this state our regiment numbered 850 strong hearty men, but now after one year of the most severe service, we find ourselves a mere skeleton. We can not muster over 250 men to do duty to save ourselves...''

On 6 October 1862, Minton describes drilling ''a squad of new recruits'' shortly before his promotion to Sergeant, and also mentioning the Emancipation Proclamation announced by President Lincoln two weeks prior, ''...The soldiers all seem to like Uncle Abe's proclamation declaring all slaves belonging to men in arms against the government free on the first of January. I tell you it makes the secesh look down in the mouth. In this little place you can see a half dozen negroes to one white person...''

In February 1863, Minton describes the black population of South Carolina, comparing it to Virginia, and blames slavery as a result. From Port Royal, he writes, ''...After we arrived here we were anchored at this harbor eight days. The vessel was very much crowded and conveniences were very scarce and in truth we had a miserable time of it. We were on board in all eighteen days. During that time we had no washing done. So you may suspect that we were a hard looking regiment of men when we landed. We were dirty, ragged, and covered with body lice...Negroes here are as thick as grasshopper in the summer and the most ignorant beings I ever chanced to see. They cannot speak a sentence conveyable of any sense whatever. They are ten degrees more degraded than the negroes of Old Virginia. A man that wishes to understand what an outrage slavery is ought to visit South Carolina. A man with any heart at all cannot uphold slavery after witnessing such sights as we see here...''

From Cole's Island, South Carolina, Minton describes the 7 April 1863 attack of the USS Montauk and Du Pont on Ft. Sumter. Letter reads in part, ''...They went up within eight hundred yards of Ft. Sumpter and opened fire. Every gun on the Ft. immediately opened fire. The action lasted about three hours! The concussion made the whole island tremble. Our boats then retired, leaving Ft. Sumpter with two tremendous holes knocked in her sides. The new ironsides was struck six hundred times by steel pointed shot and but two injured her in the least. The turret of the Montauk was damaged to some extent. The reconnaissance confirms to us all that Charleston is a doomed city. The day appointed for a general attack is the 13th of this month. For on that day two years ago, Sumpter fell. And we want to recapture her on that day...''

With much more content, including an inspection by President Lincoln (''Old Abe said we were the toughest looking chaps he had seen''), movements by the military, and insightful observations of the military command. In one of his last letters home he writes excitedly of battle preparations, including, ''We anticipate a hard fight if we take Morris Island.'' Most letters, nearly all composed in pen with legible handwriting, include the original envelopes, several on patriotic stationery. An exciting and interesting set of letters, in very good plus condition. With near complete transcriptions.
Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''
Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''
Exceptional Civil War Archive of 50+ Letters by a KIA Sergeant in the 67th Ohio: ''...At last after hard fighting a shout went up that they were running. We all pursued, slaying them by hundreds...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $15,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $18,750
Number Bids: 1
Auction closed on Thursday, August 26, 2021.
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