August 2013 Auction Ends Thursday, August 29th, 5pm Pacific


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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/29/2013
Collection of 27 Civil War-dated autograph letters signed from Private William Rees of the 103rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers. Each letter is addressed to the newlywed soldier's bride, Mary and signed ''William Rees or Wm Rees''. During his term, Rees' regiment participated in the Siege of Yorktown, the Battle of Fair Oaks and the Seven Days' Battles - the climax of McClellan's Peninsula Campaign for Richmond. On 12 May 1862 the week after the Siege of Yorktown, Rees writes, in part, ''...we are chasing the rebels for the last ten days they stood us one battle at Williamsburg they had a strong fort at that Place they fought like tigers there was 2,500 of our men killed [ink spill]...wounded and three thousand...battle two hours at his back Who [ink] he struck With the but of his the forehead When he was shot but to clos the night came on and the battle stopt the rebels run from the fort morring. We are on our way to Richmond it is about 45 miles from there we will advance tomorrow...I could hear the bullets whistling and hear our men cheering as they charged on the foe it was fought on the 5th day of this month it rained very near all day I had been left behind in camp not being very well but I started after the regiment and traveled hard to get to them but I was told the wrong road and so I did not get with them till the next day I was was a hard fight some of rebel dead were lying with ours in one place there was two rebels lying one on each side of one of our men they had charged on our and got mixed the rebel had got one of our men when he turned...around...'' Letters written earlier, during Yorktown read, ''...We live in little huts made of brush with our gum blankets on top there is three and four in each tent...the news here now is that there will be peace before long general McClellan has gone to Washington to meet the delegates from England and france that has came there to try to make peace between the North and the South...I must get a smoke I am writing and smoking with my pipe in my pocket the stem is over a foot a half long made of india ruber tobacco is very dear here...we are not far from the rebels but they are so afraid of us that there is no danger of them attacking us general mcclellan says that he is not afraid of all rebeldom here...we have been called out about three o'clock this morning we stood till daylight and now we have orders to...reinforce the men before us the talk is that Yorktown today...'' The earlier letters leading up to the Siege read, ''...There was fourteen out of one company broke out and went home last week and twenty-one this afternoon but if I cannot get a furlough Without braking guard I will stay in here...I have got tired of this exciting life...there was a young man brought to Kittanning shot through the heart it was done in an accident there was two men quarrelling in a tent near the place where he was on guard one of the men shot at the other and killed him...most of the deserters are back and wo unto them that have not come. There has been a great battle fought and the north has been [illegible]. We have taken three thousand Prisoners it was fought by the Burnside fleet at Roanoke island and several other battles we have whipped the rebels evry time...I wish the war was over that I might return home to pass my life in peace and happiness with you, that I might comfort my aged parents...'' On 8 March 1862 Rees reports, ''...We are only sixteen miles from the Rebles they had a small battle the other Side of the Potomac. We heard them shouting the canons the rebles were defeated...We only get a small load of bread for three meals and smoky bacon and potationed monkey bacon and potatoes...there was forty thousand men crossed the Potomac in one night the rebles have been Whipped badly they have left Bulls run and manasses junction our men are twenty miles the other side of bulls run thomas Davis regiment has gone on toward the rebles...We have had a large march. We left Washington on the 27th in the evening and now we are 12 miles from the City. We had to sleep on the ground that night now we are in sight of elexandria Which is about 22 miles from Manasses Junction, elexandria is about 12 miles from Washington and We are to march in a few hours again on the fleet. We are to go to Fortress Monroe...There is about two hundred thousand men about here there was about ten thousand men came along with us...'' Written two weeks before the Battle of Fair Oaks, one letter reads, ''...we are about 25 miles from Richmond and McClellan says he will finish in 20 days. We have taken a rebel Col...and Major prisoners here there is some talk that we will have to go a provost guard because our brigade has no officers fit for duty our general is sick and col and lieutenant col and major are the same so we have no officers...'' In an undated letter Rees writes, ''...I knowed the kind of guns that we got are What they call the prusian gun I saw a canon that our men captured from the rebels at Draineswell it was at the Armory on the banks of the Potomac I drank Water from the river...'' Interestingly, not long after enlisting he reports, ''...debate tomorrow night there is three of us on a side the subject is Whether the indian or the negro has the most right to complain of the White Man...'' The last letter in the lot is datelined Camp near James River, 30 July 1862, two months after the Battle of Seven Pines. It reads in part, ''...I have been very sick since I last wrote to you before but I am getting better fast. I got your welcome letter a few days ago but I was to [sic] weak to answer it till today. My limbs have been so weak I could not hold anything in my right hand and I could hardly walk though I have not been bedfast but sick enough to be. I wished often to be with you I cannot get a furlough they are stoped...we are ordered to be ready to move in an hours warning but we do not know hand begins to shake and...I am afraid you cannot read such scribbling as this...send me a few dollars for I have such a poor appetite that I cannot scarcely eat the strong meat and hard crackers. If I had 11 bones I could get tea and bread and potatoes...'' Rees died of typhoid fever in a Philadelphia hospital on 25 August 1862, eleven months after enlisting. Typhoid and dysentery claimed the lives of more than 80,000 union soldiers throughout the war. 23 letters are signed ''William Rees'' and 4 are signed ''Wm Rees''. Lot includes 2 unsigned letters and four sheets of poetry, all handwritten by Rees. One sheet of poetry is signed, and several of Rees' original pieces are quite eloquent. Fittingly, one of his original poems reads in part, ''...When this you see remember me William Rees his hand writing...'' Accompanied by a copy of Rees' widow's 20 September 1862 pension claim stating his death was ''...said to be caused by typhoid fever...'' Most letters run 4pp. on a single sheet of card-stlye stationery measuring 5.25'' x 8''. Toning, creasing, some staining and separation at fold intersections. Very good overall. A nice succession of letters from the Peninsula Campaign.
William Rees of the 103rd Pennsylvania Letter Lot -- '' Williamsburg...they fought like tigers...I could hear the bullets whistling and hear our men cheering as they charged...''
William Rees of the 103rd Pennsylvania Letter Lot -- '' Williamsburg...they fought like tigers...I could hear the bullets whistling and hear our men cheering as they charged...''
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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,500
Final prices include buyers premium.:
Number Bids: 4
Auction closed on Thursday, August 29, 2013.
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