January 2019 Auction Ends Thursday, January 31st, 5pm Pacific
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/31/2019
Lively archive by George G. Thwing of ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Co. E, led by General Butler into Louisiana where they occupied New Orleans and fought in the Battle of Baton Rouge. A printer by trade, Thwing's writing is descriptive and entertaining during his one year service. Having enlisted in early December 1861, Thwing died just before Christmas 1862 of disease. Archive includes Thwing's handwritten journal, entitled ''Memorandum of Butlers Expedition on the Mississippi River!!'' along with 89 letters, 40 written by Thwing during his enlistment. Lot also includes a portrait of Thwing, drawn by a fellow soldier.

In his journal entry dated 5 August 1862, the day of the battle, Thwing describes the Battle of Baton Rouge in visceral detail: ''...This morning at 5 o'clk the Rebels under Gens. Breckenridge & Lovell with a force of 8,000 men attacked the federal troops. One camp (14 Maine) they took entirely by surprise and had fired two volleys into them before they had formed a line of battle. At five o'clk the fight on both sides raged furiously. Gen. Williams was killed at the commencement of the battle. We had about 4,000 men on our side. The Mass. 6th Battery lost 3 guns, but they were captured by a gallant charge of the Indiana boys. William Norris was wounded in the thigh. Lieut. Gardner in the thigh. I saw the surgeon extract the ball. Gen. Breckenridge had his arm shot off and was taken prisoner. Capt. Kelly of the famous Zouaves was killed. I saw crowds and crowds that were wounded. At the beginning of the engagement reinforcements were sent after at New Orleans. Lieut. [William Howe] How's body has been recovered. This evening the enemy came in with a flag of truce to bury their dead. Col. Dudley said that he was proud of his regiment, that they acted bravely. He also said that if it had not been Capt. Nim's Battery, our side would have lost the day. The battery fired the fastest of any battery on the field and raked the Rebel ranks down by hundreds...'' He continues the next day, ''...Last evening the Rebels retreated out of sight, but we do not know how many miles. To-day our side expect reinforcements from New Orleans. Our forces slept on the battlefield all night so as to be in readiness for the Rebels in case of an attack. A great many prisoners were taken of the Rebels. The gun-boats played the duce with the Rebels. There is five gun-boats here and they were continually firing over the city shelling the woods every half hour and also the day before. Col. Dudley said last evening that Breckenridge was not taken prisoner. We expect another battle to-day...''

In a letter to his father dated 10 August 1862, Thwing tells him about the Battle of Baton Rouge, ''...I am now at the Marine Hospital, N.O. All of the sick and wounded were sent down the river from Baton Rouge. The battle of Baton Rouge was a terrible battle. The Union forces were terribly cut up, but not half as bad as the Rebel forces. The Rebels had between eight and nine thousand on their side while we did not had more than four thousand men, yet we vanquished them after five hours hard fighting. I was very near being killed myself while going out with the sick officers of the garrison. The garrison was the place our forces were going to retreat to in case they were driven back. The garrison is about five minutes walk to the place where the battle occurred...Our brave Gen. Williams was killed while rallying the 21st Indiana. The 30th stood their ground like veterans. The gun-boat gave pepper and salt to the Rebels. The Rebel ram was burned while coming down the river to help the Rebels by the gun-boat Essex...Lieut. Gardner of our company was mortally wounded so was three or four privates. There was about twenty-five killed and wounded in the 30th reg. in the battle...'' He details his regiment's killed and wounded in his journal on 20 September, ''...The names of the officers that were wounded in the 30th are as follows: Quartermaster [Joseph Tenney] Tenny in the arm. 2nd Lieut. [William] Gardner in the thigh. / Killed: Capt. [Eugene] Kelty of the Zouaves Co. D. / A great many privates in the 30th were wounded. The color corporal (belong to Co. K) had his arm shattered by a cannon ball he has since taking off. Albert Norris belong to Capt. Brown's Company was slightly wounded, that being all in Co. E. Orderly Sargent Haley of Co. E has been promoted to Second Lieutenant of Company A. for bravery in the late battle. He having command of the company in the necessary absence of its officers. John Kinnear [name scribbled out] has gone home. He proved himself to be a perfect scoundrel. Money that was placed in his care by a half a dozen privates he appropriated to his own use. He owed the officers in the company (E). I hope he will be exposed and I have no doubt he will be...''

In April 1862 aboard the ship Matanzas, en route to New Orleans, Thwing witnesses the the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which would prove decisive for control of New Orleans. On 19 April he writes, ''...After casting anchor about five miles from the fort, the men could see Porter's Mortar Fleet bombarding Fort Jackson. A part of the fleet was lying at anchor close by. About dark a gun-boat came down the river alongside of the Matanzas and gave the news to Gen (after Saxon being side of us at the time). The news was that Com. Porter's fleet consisted of thirty vessels, frigates, sloops-of-war, and gun-boats. At about 9 o'clock in the evening a large fire could be distinctly seen back of the trees and underwood in the direction of the fort burning brighter and brighter as the darkness increased. It burned five or six hours before it went down any. A boat came alongside this morning from one of the gun-boats and reported that the fort was set on fire inside by the shells of the mortar fleet. It is very hard getting food of any sort on board of the steamer. Early this morning the fleet commenced firing again. To-day I saw a large number of crockadiles on the banks of the river...'' The next day he writes, ''...The large fire I wrote of yesterday proved to be a large Rebel raft covered with pitch pine and firery combustables. This was set fire and sent by the Rebels at Fort Jackson down the river. They intend to set the fleet on fire, if possible, but the swift as luck would have it, took it ashore amongst the mud and bushes where it stayed for one while...''

Other interesting content includes, in chronological order, the regiment's landing at Fort Monroe, described in a letter to his sister on 26 January 1862, ''...Last Friday was a very stormy and windy day...the whole regiment were ordered out with all their equipments on...The road to the fortress was entirely covered with the rolling and heaving sea. The sea looked terrific, it rolled mountains high. I could see ships tossing to and fro with their flags half-masted as a signal of distress and I pitied them. / We were in a dreadful state. The entire regiment we in line, all the tents having been taken down in a hurry, you had better believe. I was a little frightened myself...The sea was up to our knees, the sea having swamped the whole island. The regiment marched about a mile where the land was higher, it being a large cluster of woods, covered partly with mounds where the remains of those soldiers departed from life where buried. / When we arrived there, we pitched our tents, but we did not get any supper. We, having had not a mouthful of food since morning, not even a mouthful of water, we had to lie down that night without any food, wet to the skin, without any dry clothing to put on, everything being wet through. Such is a soldiers life, dear Eliza.''

On 21 February 1862, he writes again to Eliza after having landed at Ship Island, ''...we are right in the midst of the Rebels. They cruise about the island almost every day, but are very careful not to get within distance of the guns belonging to the fort of the frigates or gun boats lying at anchor close to the land for our protection. The largest ship in the navy is lying here. It is called the Niagra. / A Rebel steamboat that had been cruising about in the water waiting for the Constitution mistook it for the Constitution and fired two guns at it, but they were much astonished when the Niagra fired a heavy broadside into it which settled their hash...'' The next day in his journal, Thwing writes about celebrating the Battle of Fort Donelson, ''...The Union Forces in Kentucky gained a great victory. The number of men on the Union side was 150,000. The Federals captured 10,000 men besides two paymasters, besides the fort called Fort Donelson. The also captured the stronghold of the enemy in Kentucky, called Columbus. It was a great victory on our side. To-day Gen. Phelps had all the troops on the island out into line and a salute of thirteen guns and twenty one guns afterwards was fired from the fort. It was a regular holiday on the island...''

In April, scandal and tragedy visit the island. He writes in his journal on 6 April, ''...Day before yesterday seven or eight men were drowned while bathing in the water, two in the Mass. 30th Reg. and the rest in the Maine 12th...'' and then on 12 April, ''...About 12 o'clock it began to blow and rain terribly. It rained down in torrents or speaking plainly, in pailfulls. The lightning was most terrific. A number of men were killed and wounded in the Mass. 31st Regiment. The men that were on guard in the regiment were the ones that were killed. Three were killed instantly and a number wounded. Two of the killed were Cambridge boys, Michael Maquel, and Patrick McDemmick, the whole of the guard belonged to the Zouaves...'' In a letter to his sister on 2 April he writes, ''...A great many men in the company I belong to are to be sent home as cowards. 'After leaving home, friends and kindred passing through sufferings and anxiety, should they turn out to be cowards, No. They ought to go with their company or regiment and fight their best, their motto being 'Liberty or Death.'''

From New Orleans on 28 April, just after the Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip, Thwing writes to his father about a mob twenty-thousand strong ready to possibly attack them: ''...We left Ship Island...and sailed within five miles of Fort Jackson and remained there till it surrendered. We could distinctly see the federal guns flash and the bombs explode. I could tell a long story of the various incidents of that voyage but I have not the time to spare such as one or two floating rafts sent by the Rebels, all on fire covered with cotton down the Miss. River to destroy the Federal fleet...While sailing past the forts houses could be seen belonging to the planters that were completely shelled out. The fort or either of the forts were not much damaged. There were about 100 guns on Fort Jackson and abut fifty under cover in front of the fort to plough down infantry if it was attacked by them...Talk of negroes, I never saw such a crowd of them in my life. There is a very few white men here, but a larger number of white women that I ever saw in Boston at one time (New Orleans) arriving at New Orleans the troops were landed and marched into the heart of the city...After our company were landed we formed into line after loading and caping our guns (in case the mob attacked us we wanted to be prepared) and escorted an artillery company, the 6th Mass. Battery, to the arsenal which is situated in the centre of the city. The streets for a greater part of the way were lined with the mob who sissed us and cheered for Jeff Davis...There was in front of the arsenal a mob of about twenty thousand men stretched along as far as the eyes could reach, but there being three or four artillery companies with their guns all loaded and ready to fire at any moment. They did not show much fight except using their voices in cheering for Jeff Davis. We had to tramp almost all of that night in escorting munitions of war, cartridges &c. Our company are now quartered in a large brick building used by the Rebels as a cotton press which is inside of the building...''

In May, Thwing gives his thoughts on New Orleans, complimenting the ''pretty girls...One being the handsomest that I ever saw''. He also recounts a very sad story of a slave who's family was taken from him, in his journal on 1 May: ''...The plantations are very beautiful on both sides of the river. Negro wenches jumping up and down, waving their dress, and trying to cheer...A colored man 80 years age without hardly any clothing on, came down to the boat and he told a pitiful story. His story was that he had been a slave for nearly fifty-one years, that he had had since he had been in bondage five or six masters, that his family, a wife and four children, had been taken from his arms and sold under the hammer which was thirteen years ago, and every since that he did not care what become of himself. I could tell more of what he said, but that is enough...''

More observations of New Orleans follow, including lizards floating into their tents from the rain, finding gold and silver buried by the Rebels, a funny observation that his Company nickname is ''IRONSIDES'', Rebel spies ordered killed but then pardoned at the last minute, and notably, dodging guerrillas. He chastises a group who got captured because they idled eating watermelons; (''If the forty men that were sent to guard the train had kept their eyes peeled, they might have whipped the thieving gurrellres''). On 29 June he writes to his sister about a skirmish with the guerrillas, ''...The guerrellers are scattered about pretty numerously about two miles from his camp. Reed's Cavalry that were enlisted at Camp Chase had quite a battle with them. Our loss was two wounded and three killed, and we captured twenty five of the Rebel cut-throats. I saw the prisoners and the two that were killed besides the two that were wounded. I pitied the poor fellows while I could hear their moanings as they were being carried along on litters...''

On 17 July he writes to his father, ''...Two negroes were shot here on a plantation by their master. The master was arrested by Gen. Butler's order. He gave for an excuse that both negroes showed a rebellious spirit and refused to do any duty and he shot them both on that account. The Gen. sent him to Fort Jackson for a number of years. / A great many rich planters in this city have had all of their cotton, sugar, molasses, taken from them. Col. Dudly offered to buy it of them and pay them in gold or U.S. Treasury notes. They said they would not disgrace themselves by selling to the Yankee cutthroats. So all of their cotton &c was seized by Col. Dudley's orders and carted down to the levee to be taken North...'' A few days later he writes to his sister, ''...There was one thing that happened to a scouting party of the 30th. A corporal and two men were out scouting when they came to a farm house inhabited by an old Secess and his son. The old man came to the door, fired a musket, and shot the corporal. One of our men who was attending him, fired and shot the old rascal immediately. When the Gen. heard the facts of the matter, he ordered the immediate arrest of the Union Soldier that shot the old Secess. Since the arrest, he has been court martialed, but I believe he was discharged. If I had been there I should have been mad enough to shot both of them. I and so does all of the boys. Gen. Phelphs backing us, go in for shooting all gurrellers. All they do is skulk behind trees and shoot our poor boys, but Gen. Butler shows no mercy to them...''

The next phase of Thwing's letters show him slowly deteriorating in the hospital, ravaged by a leg injury (possibly rheumatism) and diarrhea that would ultimately kill him at age 22. On 6 September he writes to his father, ''...I am still at the hospital. I have been examined by the medical board twice and they said laughingly that I was playing off. I have made up my mind to leave the hospital to-morrow morning and limp up to the regiment which is quartered about four miles from the hospital. The doctor of my ward told me that my leg was in a very bad condition and it would hardly be probable that I eve would get the full use of it...The medical board consists of three surgeons. The head one is named Doctor Brown and he is the one that said that I was playing off. He belongs to New Orleans and was here before the Union troops took possession of the city. He is a regular secession rascal and an ugly man and tyrant. He has charge of this hospital...Lieut. Kinnear is on his way home. The colored folks here, and there is any quantity of them, there being crowds of them with the different regiments here, are a great deal better treated than the soldiers are. We do not get more than half what we are allowed by the government. The quartermasters pocket the balance. All of the officers here think of nothing but swindling the government and it is a happy day for any man to be discharged...''

On 24 September he writes to his father, ''...For the last three of four days I have been very sick. Instead of getting better I am (so the doctor says) getting worse. It is called by the doctor 'Chronic Diarrhea.' Nothing comes from me but slime and blood. I can tell you that I suffer...'' He continues on 4-5 October, ''...I am very sick. It is with the greatest effort that I wrote this letter. Since the 22nd of last month (my birthday) I have been failing very fast. The doctor has done me more hurt than good. Last night I fainted away while coming back to my tent from the necessary...All the water that we have here to drink is 'Bayou water' (water running through the swamps). It almost turns a mans stomach to taste it, but it is all we can get here...'' In a tragic letter on 13 December, less than 2 weeks before Thwing died, he writes to his father that he hopes to get better, with the unfortunate news on the back of the letter, written by a nurse, that he is indeed dying. Thwing's portion of the letter reads, ''...There is at last, and to my great pleasure, ladies visiting the hospital. I hope now we will get well under their kindness. I expect to be removed to one of the ladies houses, she having taken a fancy, imagining me to look somewhat like a deceased brother of hers. I have at last been removed to a home and have sent for a Southern doctor...'' The nurse then writes, ''...This letter has been written to satisfy your brother George. Poor fellow. He thinks he is getting better, but the physician gave him up yesterday as mortification has taken place. He imagines himself much better, but he is quietly passing away, before this perhaps leaves the city, he will have entered into the pleasure of joy where pain is felt no more. His mind dwells upon his mother and you continually. He seems to think of nothing else, although upon talking to him of death, he said he felt prepared...'' This portion of the archive is completed by a beautifully penned letter, dated Christmas 1862, by the woman of a house where Thwing was convalescing right before he died. Letters are in very good condition, with both the letters and journal showing beautiful, flowing penmanship. The covers of the journal are worn, with some pages starting to detach. Both journal and Thwing's letters are accompanied by near complete transcriptions.
Journal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation ContentJournal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation ContentJournal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation ContentJournal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation Content
Journal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation ContentJournal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation ContentJournal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation Content
Journal & 40 Letter Civil War Lot by a Soldier in ''Butler's Brigade'', the 30th Massachusetts Infantry, Organized by General Butler -- With Battle of Baton Rouge & New Orleans Occupation Content
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Auction closed on Thursday, January 31, 2019.
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