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Archive of 76 Civil War letters from three brothers in the 50th New York Engineers: Captain Walker V. Personius and Privates Charles W. and Daniel V. Personius, all in Co. G. Charles, who writes the majority of letters, addresses his parents from camp on 5 June 1864, just two days after the Battle of Cold Harbor. Written 10 miles from Bottoms Bridge and 18 from White House, VA, letter reads in part, ''...While we were at the Mattapona River, there was a regiment of colored troops lay along side of us. They did provost duty at our bridge...I must say for them that they did their duty up prompt and as well as any of Uncle Sam's boys could do it and most of them are smart intelligent fellows and were free before they entered the service. They are from Ohio and belong to the Burnside's Corps...(P.S. Continued in Daniel's letter)...and they say that when they go into battle they take no prisoners meaning by this they kill every single one they have a chance to. At the Battle at the Wilderness they charged upon a battery and took it after our men had charged upon it three times and failed each time. When the order was given them to charge, one of their orderlies shouted out in clear distinct tone, 'Boys, remember Fort Pillow'. You could imagine the effect better than I could describe it. Revenge is strong with them. Burnside also has four companies of Indians who are equally as good as the Blacks. and even now while I sit in my tent, cannons roar is distinctly heard in the distance. Our army is still this side of the Chickahominy River and our progress will be very slow for a spell as that river is a hard one to cross. I have not heard from the front since yesterday and then I heard that our lines were hard pressed and we were acting on the defensive awaiting the arrival of fresh troops who were near at hand and it may be that our men have crossed today for the cannonading seems further off than it was yesterday. Gen Grant is fighting them by the month and he has now fought them thirty three days steady, every day, and he says he will fight as long as he has a man left and when that one is killed he will gallop away fast as possible. He is acquiring a name which will be as lasting as Washington's...'' Earlier in that same letter Charles writes, ''...Daniel stands the marches first rate so far and we have traveled far enough to try the pluck of most men. For thirty days it has been one continual tramp and the whole army is becoming fatigued and worn out. Besides, the rations of the army are not of the best nor any to plenty just now...In passing through the country you find the farmers well supplied with eatables that is if you should chance to be in the advance but as they pass through [Southern homes] each soldier takes whatever he wants and a house is soon gutted from garrett to cellar of all food and hogs, sheep, and chickens, ducks, geese, calves, yearlings, and everything fit to eat is taken without regard for owners. Very often the planters bury their pork and ham and bacon and such things to hide them from the soldiers, but all the boys have to do is point their guns at their donkeys and they soon tell where things are concealed. Most of the able bodied niggers have been removed farther south for to make them more secure for their masters but most all that we left behind have taken the advantage of our coming and have followed us up leaving their masters and are seeking their freedom. I presume a good many of them will be shipped from White House Landing to Washington, where they are cared for and employed by the government. Most of them are quite ignorant. They generally are dressed very poor and when they leave, the whole family goes and it is laughable to see them. Each old wench has from ten to fifty young ones to care for of her own...'' Later that summer, on 19 September 1864 from Camp Near Petersburg, Charles writes, ''...Today John D. Millspaugh was wounded & the doctor says it is a mortal wound. Millspaugh has been a teamster at Headquarters all summer and has been with the Co. only four or five days and had been out to work with us but once before today and it seems strange that he should be the first one to be shot out of this Co. this season and it reminds me of the saying that 'the last shall be first and the first shall be last.' The shot was no doubt inflicted by a Rebel sharpshooter for we were in plain sight when he was shot. I was about a rod from him. He was cutting corduroy timber and he dropped his axe and exclaimed, 'Boys, I am shot.' This was all he said at the time. He did not fall ...his hands on the wound which was in the abdomen. Sergt Smith & John Crane and I carried him to the rear and he was borne from there on a stretcher untill an ambulance could be obtained when he was carried to the hospital where in all probability his days will be few...'' From Camp Near The Jordan House North of Petersburg, VA on 25 October 1864, ''Dear Parents...A new recruit in our company has just been trying to cut his throat with a jack knife and he made a pretty large cut before he was discovered...he is very homesick and the other day he went to the lieutenant crying and told him that he would give him everything he has worth if he would only discharge him and I don't know whether the fellow is foolish or crazy. At any rate, he is not overly smart. He came from Pennsylvania somewhere and it is almost a pity his knife had not been a little sharper so he could have done the job better...Chas''. He tells the grim story of an earlier recruit from Harper's Ferry on 11 February 1863, ''...Yesterday another of the new recruits died in the general hospital. His name was John R. Stearns. I guess Pa saw him when he went to the hospital. He was buried in the government burying ground. The boys would have sent him home to his friends, but they did not have the funds to do it with. He put a board with his name and Co marked on it at the head of his grave so that his friends may easily find his body if they choose to. A soldier belonging to the first Maryland Regt was killed down at Sandy Hook by a train of cars. They run over him and took the top of his right off...'' Charles reports of cannonnading from Camp Near City Point, James River, VA, 25 June, 1864, ''...I heard from a reliable gentleman...that the city of Petersburg was on fire yesterday and was nearly half consumed. There has been heavy cannonading kept up over since yesterday noon and the burning of Petersburg must have been one of the results I think...'' The next month he writes from the same location, on 11 July, 1864, ''...We are encamped in a nice place in the woods about two miles from Petersburg. I have been so I can see the horses. I was in a part out there and the Johnnies through fine solid shot at it but did not hit it. They did wissel like everything they went ones the fast. Our folds opened three guns on them and soon hushed them up in that lost the guns was thirty two bound sparrit guns. Thare is constantly kept up a picket firing and som cannonading...'' He writes from Fort Brass on 1 October 1864, ''...There has been heavy fighting going on for the last 36 hours but we have no reliable news yet, but it is going on well so far and the Yanks are giving the Johnnies their due proportion of shot & shell from all sides...'' He was involved in Weldon Rail Road, writing his briefest letter from Camp Near Poplar Grove Church, VA on 12 December 1864, ''...I have just returned from a raid on the Weldon R.R. Am tired & dirty, but well and hearty. Daniel and Voorhis and James ditto...'' On 25 March 1864, Walker (the Captain) writes from Washington, D.C., ''...Volunteers who have been educated in this free country to become good soldiers, they have to liberal ideas of liberty and free expression of speech. It requires a length of time to instruct them and remodel their ideas of rights of individuals to our form of government and society can be laid the cause of our armies lack of discipline and disorganization...[Americans] have always supposed that difficulties could be settled by the ballot...W. Personius''. Charles writes on 6 July 1863 from Frederick City, MD, ''...I will now try to pen a few lines to you to inform you of our health which is tolerable good considering our many hardships which we have underwent for the past 7 days. The Captain [Walker] has been troubled with a lame back and I with sore feet and quite a heavy cold. Indeed gentleman's soldiering seems to have entirely played out with us for a spell. June 29th we left Fredrick Junction about 8 o'clock PM with all our worldly goods strapped upon our backs and marched about three miles and then laid ourselves away for the night in a field of wheat, started again early in the morning, marched about five miles to a place called Jefferson and halted for breakfast and then took up the line of march and reached Knoxville about noon after marching a mile through the rain which fell not very sparingly from thence to Harper's Ferry, all the way through the rain and from there nearly to our old camping ground when we found the troops all leaving the place so we countermanded back as far as Sandy Hook and halted for the night. In the morning went back upon Maryland Height and staid a little while then went to our old company ground and destroyed the pontoon bridge that we had at Williamsburg then back again on to the heights and remained untill night when we went and destroyed our new pontoon bridge which was brought from Baltimore last Spring. This was accomplished by shipping holes in the bottom of the boats letting them fill with water and taking the bridge apart and down stream she went. From there we marched back to this place and encamped just outside of the town. This was on the 2nd of July...Saturday the 4 we were drawn up in line of battle in the street for about one hour when we returned to camp. The excitement was occasioned by five or six Rebs who rode up to the outskirts of the town, fired a volley, and left on double quick. 4 were captured by our cavalry...'' Charles reports on a misfortune in the Personius family from Fredricksburg, VA on 16 May, 1864, ''...Oh dear parents, you know but little of a soldier's hardships. I don't mean ourselves at all for we have it comparatively easy to what some have it but we have had tough times lately now, I tell you, and have been nearer the scene of action than I thought we would ever get. Perhaps the captain told you all about it, suffice to say I know what kind of noise a shell makes when it whistles close over your head. Silas Personius [109th New York] is wounded in the leg near the hip and very badly they say too...'' Silas' leg was amputated and he died two weeks later, but the three brothers survived the war. Letters are near fine overall.
Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''
Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''
Large 76 Letter Lot of Three Brothers During the Civil War -- ''... colored troops...kill every single one they have a chance to...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $7,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Thursday, October 30, 2014.
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