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New York Civil War Letters

New York Civil War letters are popular because, well, so many of you are from New York, and you are also Civil War buffs.  We at NateDSanders.com Auctions sold these New York Civil War letters a little while ago and I want to share them with you.

149 New York Civil War Letters & 3 Diaries by Soldier in the 148th New York Infantry — With Heavy Battle Content From Petersburg (Including the Taking of Fort Mahone), Drewry’s Bluff, Cold Harbor, the Crater, Chaffin’s Farm, Fair Oaks & Appomattox Court House — “…a dead Rebel lay on the ground, one we had killed Friday or Saturday. It looked pretty rough, his face was black as my boot, flies all over his face…” & “…lost 62 killed and wounded…Capt. Griswold is severely wounded in the shoulder, knocked the bone all to pieces, has had the socket bone taken out…” & “…Our loss since we came here in killed and wounded is about 180 or 190. We have not half the men we started with…” & “…all at once the Rebs opened on us…Shells burst all about us and we had to retreat across an open field they had complete command of…” & “…they were met by a perfect shower of bullets…I expected to be hit but felt cool throughout…” & “…a charge was made. We gained the Fort. A little later in the morning the niggers made a charge. They behaved very badly. They not only retreated, but was a regular stampede…” & “…The Rebels made two terrific assaults on our lines and were repulsed with a great slaughter both times…” & “…You ought to see the dead Rebels in front to our lines, they are piled right up. They are worse than ours were at Cold Harbor and Petersburg…”

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Incredible Civil War lot by Charles E. Reed of the 148th New York Infantry, Co. G, who enlisted as a Private in 1862 and was promoted to Lieutenant by the time he mustered out in 1865. Both brave and lucky, Reed saw battle on almost a daily basis for a year, beginning at Petersburg in May 1864, and continuing until the end of the war. He writes about nearly escaping death many times in this archive, consisting of 149 war-dated letters and 3 diaries, with specific content on the Siege of Petersburg and the taking of Fort Mahone, and the Battles of Cold Harbor, Drewry’s Bluff, Chaffin’s Farm, Fair Oaks, Appomattox Court House and the Battle of the Crater. Beginning chronologically, content starts with the Battle of Petersburg on 11 May 1864, “…Where we crossed the railroad a dead Rebel lay on the ground, one we had killed Friday or Saturday. It looked pretty rough, his face was black as my boot, flies all over his face. Here we struck the Richmond &

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Petersburg Turnpike. About a mile from here we halted two or three hours by a small creek. Two tables were here where the Rebs had dressed their wounded. A Rebel leg lay where they had left it. Fighting has now commenced in front. We were nearly on top of a hill and I think we lay rather close to the ground as the shells flew around pretty lively. The Rebs charged our lines twice during the night, but did not budge them an inch. The next morning we went back to the railroad and commenced tearing up the track. Bad luck met us here, one of our company got his leg broke off at the ankle so the bone stuck right out. The Rebs attacked our right and we came back, were deployed as pickets and sharp shooters, we saw no Rebs…” He then describes Drewry’s Bluff over several days, beginning the letter to his brother on 17 May 1864, “…Our Regt. was in advance, after going about 2 miles we struck the Johnnie’s line of battle. Steadily

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advancing, driving the Rebs till about noon. Here they held our skirmishes. The firing was hot but one of our Regts. flanked them and charged when they skedaddled. They were not more than 30 rods ahead of us but the brush was so thick you could not see 4 rods. Their bullets flew pretty thick I noticed. I laid very close to the ground. We moved down to the right then, did not get so close again. We had one killed and a number wounded…we drove the Rebs. in their fortifications, held them there till yesterday morning. They must have received reinforcements for they came out then and whipped us nicely. I think they must have attacked our whole line at once, driving the flanks. We were about in the center. They came down on us once. We lay in the edge of woods. The underbrush was thick and we lay behind it. Had telegraph wire strung along for them to get tangled in. They got pretty close before they fired, let them have two volleys then they retired double quick. After they turned our flanks they got a crossfire on us. The bullets flew very thick. Col. Murray told me if we had stayed 4 minutes

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longer we would all have been taken prisoners. I don’t know how so many escaped, only lost 62 killed and wounded out of the Regt. None killed out of our Company. Capt. Griswold is severely wounded in the shoulder, knocked the bone all to pieces, has had the socket bone taken out. Sat. night our Company went out on picket, were in good rifle range of one of their large posts. They are very strongly fortified. The Rebs made a break on our picket line in the night but we made it warm for them. Sunday – kept up steady fire on them all day. If a man put his head above their fort he was a goner. Had them so they could not fire their cannons. It was pretty ticklish business for us, but we were in a stumpy lot, kept behind them. Had only one wounded then, Jim Allen had a ball through his jacket. I am thankful I escaped. One spell when they got the cross fire on us I thought it was good-bye home for the bullets were whistling in every direction and shells bursting…” He continues with describing Drewry’s Bluff in another letter (with a diagram of their position vs. “Enemy in Woods”) to the same brother, “…

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In the edge of the woods the enemy’s skirmishers were posted. They kept up a brisk fire on us while we were advancing, hitting however but few of our men. When we arrived within 20 or 25 rods we halted and lay down. Our skirmishers were thrown out, advancing they drove the Rebs before them when we again advanced. Lay in the woods a spell then came into camp. Rested Tuesday and Wed. commenced fighting. Got it fortified from one river to the other now. Our position is very strong before our lines, we think we could keep back all that could come against us. The Rebs are close by, they make a break on our lines every day. It is to our right. We lay on the Appomattox. Thursday night we were up in the line of battle three times…Last night the Rebs at 10 1/2 o’clock made an attack on our lines or we made a break on theirs, I don’t know which. It was the sharpest cannonading I have heard. Lasted only 15 or 20 minutes. We fell in line

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and marched out about a mile towards where the firing was heard. As everything became quiet we came back about 1 o’clock. Every morning we form a line of battle between 3 & 4 so as not to be surprised…” He writes to his brother about a skirmish at Port Walthall on 31 May 1864, “…Last Thursday morning our Regt. lost 3 killed and six or eight wounded in a skirmish, none out of Co. G. Two of ours killed we had to leave in the hands of the enemy, could not get them away…” On 5 June 1864, he describes the Battle of Cold Harbor to his sister: “…Here I am in the rifle pits in front of the Rebs. They too are in pits
about 200 yards in front. Their bullets are whistling over our heads quite lively. Some of our boys are arming themselves, letting Rebs have some of their balls…one fellow just below was shot through the head this a.m…Friday we went into a fight. Our Div. charged, the Rebel works were repulsed. Since then we have lain in rifle pits, are digging up. Our loss was quite heavy, probably will reach 150 in killed and wounded. This is our Regt. alone. Lieut. Adams is wounded in two

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places, the face & arm…” He writes to his brother on 8 June about Cold Harbor: “…The bullets all go over our heads now. Yesterday a 12 pound round shot struck the bank of our pit, went through a cartridge box & overcoat. It is pretty hard for us here, have to be on the alert constantly. We have been here 5 days and nights. Our line is the advanced one. The Rebs are right across an open field in plain sight. Yesterday and day before there was a flag of truce. It seemed good to feel safe a few minutes. No bullets whistling…Last night the band played Dixie. The Rebs cheered, then they played Yankee Doodle, groaning took the place of cheering…” A few days later, he writes, “…Our loss since we came here in killed and wounded is about 180 or 190. We have not half the men we started from Yorktown with…” He writes to his sister on 17 June 1864, describing almost being captured at Petersburg, “…our Regt. had the narrowest escape it ever had. We were clear on the right all alone. Part of the Regt. thrown out as skirmishers, the rest supporting them. We were laying down in line when all at once the Rebs opened on us

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and infiltrating fire from a battery across the river. Shells burst all about us and we had to retreat across an open field they had complete command of. I lay close to the ground till I got ready to start then ran the best I could. When I heard a shell coming I went down, soon as it got over I put a heel. When we got across the field there was a ditch from 3 to 6 feet deep. We got in that and lay. They put shells around that were pretty lively. I had them strike so close as to cover me with dirt. I don’t know how many we lost. Part of Co ‘A’ were taken prisoners with their Lieut. The force to our left charged a Fort and took it with nine pieces of Artillery. We advanced our skirmish line about sundown. I think I was not more than a mile from Petersburg. I could see it as plain as you can see Denison Corners from our hill. We fell back again in the night to the left, 12 o’clock before we got ready to lay down…” A few days later, he continues with more fighting at Petersburg: “…We had a very severe fight on Saturday. I don’t know how many the Regt’s lost. Co. ‘G’ went in with only 32, had 2 killed and wounded and

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yesterday had another wounded slightly. Making 10 in all out of the Co. Our Brigade advanced next to the River Appomattox. Before this we had taken their Forts which had command of the ground, all they had left was rifle pits. We charged their first line. You had ought to have seen them run. Some prisoners were taken. They fell back in their next line. We stopped under cover of a ravine. They poured a few charges of grape in but I guess they hurt no one and they soon had to get it out of the way. In a couple of hours we got ready for another charge. We had to go across an open field, forming in under cover of 2 houses. The command forward was given. Our Co. had to go between the houses. Here they were met by a perfect shower of bullets. They faltered a moment and then went ahead. I had a bullet through my haversack here. The bullets flew everywhere. I expected to be hit but felt cool throughout the whole. We only went about 20 rods, the fire was so hot. We fell on our faces…In a little while we had a little hole dug with our cups & bayonets and the dirt piled up ahead of us so as to form quite a protection. I dug mine about 1 1/2 feet deep. We lay here till the next morning when we were relieved before day light. I will put in an envelope that was taken out of a dead Rebs pocket that lay close to my rifle pit…” On 3 July he writes to his brother about the continued Petersburg siege: “…About every day or night we charge the

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Rebs or they charge us somewhere along the lines. The result is about the same every time. The charging party get driven back. There is a large gun that is mounted on the ridge back of us. It sends a shell in to Petersburg about every 5 minutes some days. I have heard it only once this morning. Thursday we lay in the rifle pits. The Rebs from across the river gave us quite a shelling. I think they fired 200 shots in half an hour. They struck all around us but not one of the Regt. was hurt. Had to keep pretty close to the ground…” A few days later, he writes about a sharpshooter attack, “…We have 90 men now in the Company SS. One was killed this last week, shot right through the head…” More carnage a few days later, “…Yesterday we had another man killed, shot through the head. Three wounded this forenoon while getting some boards downside of the river. I was down there one day and was fired on at once. It came close enough for comfort…” On 31 July 1864, Reed writes to his brother about the Battle of the Crater, “…There was a battle fought yesterday in front of Burnside Corps. Our Corps. (18) was ordered up. Our Division and I don’t know but more of the Corps were in reserve. Started about midnight the night before. The march was not

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more than 2 miles, after we got there we lay down. The ball opened about 4 1/2 o’clock a.m. by blowing up one of their Forts (I don’t know which but more were served the same) and the heaviest Artillery firing I ever heard. I tried to count the discharges in a minute. They averaged more than one a second. Sometimes a half dozen the same instant. At the time of the explosion a charge was made. We gained the Fort. A little later in the morning the niggers made a charge. They behaved very badly. They not only retreated, but was a regular stampede. It took a number of Regiments to stop the panic stricken pots. By this act we lost one line we held which we gained in the morning. I heard more cursing and swearing about the ‘niggers’ by white soldiers than I want to hear again. If white troops had gone in the place of them I believe we would have gained the line. I think it must have been partly the fault of the nigger officers as I heard they behaved badly. After the repulse we withdrew to the rear. Towards night we returned to camp. We had one man slightly wounded. The Regt. had two wounded. I heard this morning at Headquarters some officers talking saying we took in the afternoon all we took in the morning. Our loss must have been very heavy as it always is

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in such cases. I saw many quantity of wounded…” Reed writes about another sharpshooter attack on 23 August, “…I don’t know as I wrote in my last that another Co. ‘G’ was killed. He was shot through the head, killed instantly. His name was John Horn. I had always been in the same tent with him when with the Company. The Regt. has had nearly 400 killed & wounded since we started in the spring…” On 3 October 1864, Reed writes to his brother about the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, “…the 18th Corps has been in another battle. I am now writing in the Fort we captured the first day we came here…There is another Fort in the rear of this we charged twice the first day but were repulsed both times. I was in the last charge but came out all right. I think the cannister came the thickest there I ever saw. The Rebels still hold that Fort. The next day (the 30th) the Rebels having received reinforcements made two desperate assaults but were repulsed with great loss. You ought to see the dead Rebels in front to our lines, they are piled right up. They are worse than ours were at Cold Harbor and

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Petersburg…” He describes a brief battle at Fort Harrison on 7 October, “…There has been a heavy fight on the extreme right this morning and we heard that the Rebels had turned our flank. The road was full of stragglers…” On 29 October 1864, he writes to his sister about the Battle of Fair Oaks: “…we got badly repulsed. We (the SS) went in behind the 8th Maine who were deployed as skirmishers. We were on the extreme left of the line. I suppose they expected to surprise the Rebs. but their lines were full of men so we were repulsed. Our side lost a good many prisoners. We came very near being taken. All that saved us was showing a clean heel. They were not more than ten rods behind us with a force large enough to gobble us without any trouble. The field we are in was covered under brush. I should think it had been cleared off two or three years and the stumps had sprouted just enough to cover us. The 18th was very badly cut up, some of them taken prisoners. Housel our Orderly was shot in the knee. Mark Swift is the ranking officer in the Company now and he is one notch below me. Sullivan is

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missing, think he is killed or prisoner. He was in the color guard. The Johnnies got our battle flag. We got back here last night pretty well tired out…” A month later he writes to his sister, “…I am back again to the old Company, have command of it. There are only 21 present, the remainder are dead and in hospitals or on detached duty…In the Regt. mail my Post came and a letter from Wint. Poor fellow, he has had a hard time of it. You remember he was wounded the 29th of Sept. when this Fort was taken. He says the gangrene came near eating his leg off…” On 2 April 1865, Reed writes a fantastic letter from inside Fort Mahone, on the last day of the Petersburg siege, when Union forces finally broke through. Datelined “Sunday P.M. Apr 2, 1865 / Inside a Rebel Fort”, he writes to his sister, “…Here I am inside a Rebel Fort we have just captured, writing on a Rebel sheet of paper I have just picked up since I came in. A number of wounded Rebels are lying around. The Army has achieved a great success today than they ever did before I think. This morning the 6th Corps before daylight made a charge, broke

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the Rebels lines and doubled them up. I don’t know how many prisoners we have taken, a good many though. I saw 1600 in one squad. I suppose we have captured 5 or 6,000. Everybody thinks the rebellion is about played out. I am sound yet. Had some narrow escapes. A Captain belonging to the 55th Pa. was wounded in the arm lying by the side of me, the ball going over me. Had one of my Company wounded from a shot from this fort. We have had hard times since we came on this side of the river. I have been on picket 60 hours in succession…Friday we made a charge with the picket line. Captured the Rebels picket line, more prisoners than we had men in our Regt. that went forward. Co. ‘G’ had one man severely wounded…Our Regt. has a Rebel battle flag we captured this morning…” On 9 April 1865, Reed begins a multi-day letter to his brother about the Battle of Appomattox Court House: “…We are now laying in line of battle. I don’t know exactly where we are but are probably with in twenty-five or thirty miles of Lynchburg…Today I have a headache caused I guess by loss of sleep.

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Yesterday we marched till nearly 1 o’clock this morning. Started again about 3 o’clock. This morning the ball opened. Not very hard fighting. Monday Morning – I had to stop very suddenly yesterday as we had orders to fall in, moved through the woods…The first day after we left Burksville we run up against the Johnnies while we were forming a line of battle. One of our batteries got in position in our rear and fired right over us. The second shot they fired the shell burst prematurely and killed Lieut. Jackson of Co ‘I’ instantly. We have had only three men wounded in Co ‘G’ on the campaign. Yesterday we (the Regt.) had three wounded by shell. It struck right in the ranks and the only wonder is that so few were hurt…” A chilling letter sent on 14 May 1865 to his brother revisits the Battle of Fair Oaks: “…Yesterday a detachment from the Regiment was sent to the Fair Oaks battlefield to bury some of our men who fell last October. They returned last night having buried 61 skeletons. Some of them had been partially buried or dirt had been thrown over them as they lay on top of the ground. The rain had washed the dirt off and the skeletons lay exposed. Some of them had not been buried at all…” Reed’s letters with other, non-battle content are quite

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good as well, describing traitors, court martials, black citizens and the secesh. Almost immediately after enlistment he describes a man falling off a rail car and being run over by it. He describes a local soldier shooting himself in the foot. The first taste of battle he gets in a skirmish on 24 December 1862, “…The boys have pretty hard times there, they have to go out on these scouting expedition every few days. There were about 200 out Monday, Almeron’s company among them. They were surprised by about a thousand and they were chased by them 5 miles about as fast as they wanted to go. None were hurt the balls went over their heads. One horse was shot and one fellow had his pan rations shot through…” He describes an interesting incident on 2 January 1863, “…There was quite an excitement in Norfolk yesterday. 3,000 niggers met on the Fairground, they wanted to know whether they were going to be free…a fellow here…has got a barrel with the middle part of the head knocked out in over his head. On the barrel is a piece of paper with the words liar printed on in large letters. He has to march from one end of the street to the other all the time. He has been caught lying a number of times…” A funny incident with some southern ladies is

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described, “…The boys have quite a time with the secesh ladies. They are determined to wear crape mourning for Stonewall and we are determined they shan’t. One of our boys had a free fight with one on the ferry yesterday. She said she was wearing it for Stonewall. He requested her to take it off as such things were no allowed. She said she would not nor no Yankee could take it off. He went in got the crepe and a few punches with her parasol. A good many are bitter, go out on the street off the sidewalk for as not to pass under the flag. One was going around it the other day when the guard stopped her and made her walk in under. She said all the flag was fit for was to poison rats. He told her he thought a piece of her skirt would do better for that. Wasn’t she mad…” A very interesting account of a southern doctor killing an officer of a colored regiment is described in Reed’s July 1863 letter to his brother, “…A citizen, Dr. Wright, shot a Lieut. of a colored Company as he was marching his men through the street. As he was coming up with his Company this Dr. Wright stepped out of a store door, drew his pistol and held it behind his back and when the Lieut. came opposite, fired two shots, the first going in near the corner of the eye and coming out the opposite corner of his

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mouth, and the other going through his shoulder and body. He seized the Dr. and backed him in the store and got hold of his revolver and fell dead. The Dr. instead of being killed on the spot was arrested and examined and I understand is to have his trial (Court Martial) tomorrow. I don’t think there is any danger of his getting clear and I hope before the week is over of having the privilege of seeing him swinging by the neck. Lt. Col. Guion says ‘he shall be hung’. I was one of the squad that marched him to jail last night. We formed a hollow square and placed him in the center. If he had made the first attempt to get away we would have pinned him. I saw the irons put on him and had a good chance to see how he looks. He is about as tall as Joel Grover, a little thinner, hair a little gray also his whiskers. He is very firm looking, looks determined. He has a family, 9 children. I guess he was well off, lived on Main Street. It makes the secesh awfully mad to see the niggers soldiers. They fairly grate their teeth. I think some of the secesh think he will get clear and if they find out he cannot they will try to rescue him. I only hope they will try, they will have a good time….” Reed writes to his brother about an execution, “…I sent you a paper today containing an account of the

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execution of a private of the 11th Penn. Cavalry. I was out and saw him shot. He never stirred a finger after he fell. I did not go and see him after he was shot for I had to get back to Norfolk to go on duty…” In March 1864, Reed describes a traitor being shot for alerting the Confederates to a raid: “…I hear that tomorrow the fellow is to be shot that let Boyle out of jail as he could let the Rebs know about our raid. Our Regt. will be part of the guard I expect, and will probably shoot the traitor. I can see him shot with a good stomach…” In September 1864 he writes about recruiting slave soldiers, implying they don’t fight as well as northerners: “…One thing the soldiers don’t like is the sending of Agents to the slave states to recruit ‘niggers’ to fill the quota of their native state. It does look as if the people at home were rather going back on us, we want the quota filled by men of the state either white or black and all the niggers we can get from the South (the more the better) we want thrown in extra…” Reed’s three war-dated diaries also include much battle content, echoing the content described in his letters. Condensed excerpts from 1864 follow: “…Feb 7, 1864 Sunday – This morning we resumed our march early when 4 miles from Bottoms Bridge we met the Cavalry who had

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been repulsed by the enemy. One man killed and a number wounded. We about-faced and marched back to Kent C.H. and camped, making a march of some 30 miles before sundown…Sisson was wounded…Mar 7, 1864 Monday – Witnessed another military execution. Thom Abrahams of the 139th was the victim. He took the matter very cool…May 9, 1864 Monday…7:15 A.M. skirmishers commenced firing…Stopped about a mile beyond the road on the turnpike between Richmond and Petersburg – near the railroad saw a dead Rebel. The flies were around him. Where we stopped was a scaffold where the Rebels amputated some limbs. I saw a leg that had been cut off. There has been some hard fighting in the front this P.M. Our forces have driven them yet. The advance is about 1 1/2 miles ahead. Shells went over our heads…May 12, 1864 Thursday – Started before daylight. Commenced to rain and it fell in torrents. Our Regt. in front. Soon found the Rebs. Formed in line of battle and marched through the woods and underbrush for two miles. It was pretty hard work. Found the Rebs so thick we had to stop. Our skirmishers engaged them. The Rebs are only about 80 rods ahead. Their bullets flew over our heads quite lively. We lay quite close to the ground I tell you. Our battery opened on them, the shells flew overhead. We held our ground until another Regt. flanked them and charged, when the Johnnies got out of the way quite

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lively. Changed our position to the right and did not get so close to them again. The boys suffered from the wet and cold as most of them had no overcoats. I can’t say as I like fighting very well. One killed and a number of wounded…May 13, 1864 Friday – Advanced this morning. We are not in advance today. Rained about half the time. Skirmishing all the while. Are within two miles of Fort Darling. This P.M. we heard glorious news if it is true. Grant has captured a Division of Lee’s Army with 40 pieces of Artillery and Gilmore has turned the left flank of the enemy. Some rousing cheers were given…May 14, 1864 Saturday – Advanced about 100 rods and lay in line of battle all day. Co. D went on picket last night, lost two killed and a number wounded. Tonight we advanced to the front and went out as skirmishers. Peter Goodrich was wounded this P.M., shot through the shoulder, ball lodged in his chest. Battery been shelling their Fort. The Fort looks very strong. They can’t work their guns on account of our sharpshooters…May 15, 1864 Sunday noon. Here I am on the field of battle as you may call it’s been

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skirmishing all day. I have shot 40 rounds. The boys are all right yet. Commencing to rain, shall have to stop. Held our line till 4 o’clock when we were relieved. Bennett of our company was shot through the shoulder. Jim Allen had a ball through his coat. I am thankful I am safe yet…May 16, 1864 Monday – This morning the Rebs attacked us with a great deal of fury about daybreak. About 8 o’clock they turned both our flanks. We were obliged to retreat. The 148th was one of the last Regts. to leave the ground. Capt. Griswold was wounded. Got back to camp about 8 o’clock. Glad to be back safe and sound…May 17, 1864 Tuesday…Went to hospital. The sight was awful. Limbs that had been amputated were laying around. Men were wounded in every conceivable manner. Capt. is severely wounded. Part of the bone has been taken out of his arm. Fixed our tent this P.M. Cleaned my gun. Sgt. Dye of Co. A was wounded and soon died…May 18, 1864 Wednesday – This morning we were ordered to fall in line of battle at 8 o’clock. Went out about 1/2 mile and worked on fortifications. Moved our camp towards night. The men have got to work all night. I guess if they can’t kill us with bullets they will by work…May 19, 1864 Thursday – The boys worked till 8 o’clock when

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the Regt. fell in line of battle. Stayed till daylight waiting for an attack…May 20, 1864 Friday – Last night the enemy attacked our lines on the right two or three times. We fell in line of battle 3 times, not much chance to sleep. During the day they have been fighting in that direction most of the time. I guess the Rebs got the worst of it…May 26, 1864 Thursday…There had been some skirmishing before we got there. Three killed and six wounded. We occupied the old picket line. I was in reserve stationed in Rebel house…Jun 1, 1864 Wednesday…We formed on the right, luckily for us most of the fighting was on our left. It must have been severe, the musketry firing is very heavy. Our skirmishers have been engaged. Lay in line of battle to right…Jun 2, 1864 Thursday – Last night we lay in line of battle, firing some all night. This morning we put us up some breastworks. Lay here tonight…Orderly Housel received the sad news of his brother’s death. He was killed one mile South of Fredericksburg on the eve of the 19th. He is feeling very badly. It throws a gloom over the whole company…Jun 3, 1864 Friday…Our Div. charged the Rebel works, we were repulsed. Our loss during the day has been heavy. We are laying in rifle pits in front of their works, am in line now in the pits.

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The sun is just down. I have great reason to be thankful that I am spared while so many have fallen. Have shot over a hundred cartridges. A number have been killed and wounded from our battalion…Jun 4, 1864 Saturday – Last night after dark the Rebs charged our lines, were repulsed. In the night we moved up to the right, lay in the pits all day. Had a few wounded. I am safe yet…The boys are getting used to the business, are getting reckless. I wonder more are not killed…Jun 10, 1864 Friday…This P.M. James Worden of Co. C was almost instantly killed by one of our shells prematurely exploding. Helped Hutchens write a letter this P.M. Some artillery firing tonight…Jun 15, 1864 Wednesday – Last night we marched up to Point of Rocks…Our Regt. has had the narrowest escape today. I feel very thankful that I have escaped with my life. Just at sundown we advanced. I was in plain sight of Petersburg…Jun 18, 1864 Saturday – Today has been a sad

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day for Co. G. We lost 2 killed and 7 wounded. This morning we advanced on Petersburg. Charged the Rebel lines twice. Our losses must have been large. The day has been warm. I have escaped again. I can hardly tell how. Had a bullet through my Haversack. They fell around me like hail. We can’t be more than a mile from Petersburg. Our dead are buried here…Jun 22, 1864 Wednesday…During the day we have had 3 wounded by chance shots. On the field in front are a number of our dead soldiers which cannot be brought off. They were killed in the charge…Jun 23, 1864 Thursday…I hear that the Regt. has lost 286 wounded and 64 killed…Jul 1, 1864 Friday…This P.M I was detailed with Dan Stephenson and Boswell for Sharpshooters…Jul 20, 1864 Wednesday…One of the Johnnies shot at me…Jul 27, 1864 Wednesday…Tonight I had to help tie one of the boys up. He resisted but soon gave in after we had him down. Casterman, one of the company was killed today. Shot through the head. Had a piece of watermelon today…Jul 30, 1864 Saturday…At 4 1/2 o’clock in the morning the ball opened by blowing up some of the Rebel works and cannonading. It was the heaviest I ever heard. Our troops made a charge. We are in the reserve. A great many wounded

(New York Civil War Letters — Continued)

brought by us. The niggers behaved badly. Made a regular stampede…Aug 9, 1864 Tuesday…Our boys go out with the Brigade now and stay two days. There was a large explosion at City Point today, a good many killed…Aug 21, 1864 Sunday – There has been quite a heavy fight on the left this morning I should think…Sep 29, 1864 Thursday…Before sunrise skirmishing commenced. The enemy was steadily driven back and before 9 o’clock the enemy’s first works were carried splendidly. The works were strong. Captured all their guns. Afternoon was in a charge. We were driven back. I came back all right…Sep 30, 1864 Friday…The Rebels made two terrific assaults on our lines and were repulsed with a great slaughter both times…Oct 1, 1864 Saturday…George Buchanan killed today…Oct 27, 1864 Thursday…Fight commenced about 1 o’clock. We were to support the 8th Maine deployed as skirmishers. Our side was repulsed all along the line. A good many prisoners taken. We came very near being taken. The 148th suffered severely, lost their battle flag. Rained all the P.M. Tonight we are on the retreat. Mud is shoe deep…Nov 7, 1864 Monday…An attack is expected tomorrow morning on our lines. Everything is packed ready to move to the rear in case of disaster…” In addition to Reed’s letters and diaries, lot also includes several of his military promotion documents, a handful of letters from his family, and a letter from Captain Edgar Griswold, of the same company, listing several soldiers from the 148th, who had died. Overall, an excellent, comprehensive and well-preserved archive, with full transcriptions.  Sold for $28,000.

New York Civil War Letters

149 Letter Lot & 3 Diaries by Soldier in the 148th New York Infantry — With Heavy Battle Content

To auction, buy, consign or sell New York Civil War letters, please email Nate at Nate@NateDSanders.com or phone (310) 440-2982.  Thank you.

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