Informative lot of letters from Pvt. William H. Williams during the Civil War; a soldier who saw action and was wounded.
16 CIVIL WAR LETTERS – ID’D NY 14TH HEAVY ARTILLERY Pvt. William H. Williams. There are no accounts of in-depth details of fighting, but basic descriptions of battles, skirmishes, camp life, scuttlebutt , with a few neat descriptions of hospital visits, and disgruntled Confederate prisoner working in the ward. There is one letter I thought about selling separately; a description of the “oldest gun in the regiment” that he carried at different times during his time in the war. The musket always seemed to come back to him. The description of the musket, with a capture tag on it , placed there by a confederate soldier, if still on the musket today, would and a history and value rarely encountered in this market. I’ll be looking out for it!
This is a nice group of letters, 14 are transcribed.
Some parts of the letters are highlighted because they detail important war / battle / etc. details
Private William H. Williams
1. Feb 28th, 1864, Forty Sandy Hook – Dear Sister… he is requesting her to make flannel to fit his gu.., to cover it and to rub it with.
2. April 27th, 1864, Elexandra(Alexandria?) – assigned to Burnside’s Division and “he has started with twenty five thousand men for the font, and you must not think it strange if you don’t hear from me as often as you did before left New York… We came on steamboat that was build for the rebels as a blocade runner and was taken three or four months ago…”
3. April 30, 1864, Warrington Junction.. “There is sic or eight hundred rebels made a dash into Culpepper and took the place but I guess that they will not keep the place long for there is a large force encamped here…”
4. May 20, 1864, Battle field in Virginia…” We are entrenched about ten or fifteen miles south of Fredericksburg…We have not been in but one general engagement as yet and the most of us came out without getting hurt…I found after the battle was over that there was a ball hole in my canteen and another was lodged in my knapsack…We have been in several small skirmishes and the honor of being shelled to or three times but what pleased me the most was one of the men tried to run to get rid of the fight by running to the rear and he got picked up and sent in to another division and got in to the thickest part of the fight, when we laid back in reserve…: and another soldier, “he stept out of the ranks to get some water and that was the last thing that we saw of him till after the battle was over and all signs of the rebs over when some of the boys went down to the spring after some water and they found him hid away among some old logs…”
5. June 4, 1864, Camp near Richmond …”Last night the Rebs tried to scare us from our works by throwing shells but they sent most of them so far that they did not do any harm except to bruise one man a little.”
6. Sept 9, 1864, Chestnut Hill – this letter is very difficult to read so we did not transcribe it.
7. Sept 10th, 1864, Chestnut Hill Hosp’t – William sent in a prior letter a photo..”of a fellow that was in our Company by the name of Charles Grinnell and was wounded defending himself against a rebel who tried to bayonet him. The same shell that him hi killed the reb. I hear from him the other day…he got his discharge on account of his wound which was in his left hand and although at first thought slight at last got so that they had to take his hand off. I am rapidly improving…”
8. Sept. 28, 1864, Camp Near the Weldon Rail… nothing but discussing how he needs money, since he’s not getting paid yet.
9. October 6th, 1864, U.S. Sanitary Commission First Division hospital… “I am again at the hospital but not injured as much as I was the other time I was hurt Monday by the falling of a tree, which hit me on the hade and in the left side just below the side we were falling tree in front of the breastworks to give our artillery a chance…”
10. Saturday 8th, 1864, First Division Hosp’t…”I am still here but expect to leave for City Point this after…as to.. my back and side is hurt so that I probably won’t be able to do duty for six to eight weeks yet…There is a word going on at the front now although for what purpose it is known the first division, 8th corps had orders to be ready to march in tight marching order…”
11. Oct. 19th, 1864, U.S. Sanitary Commission, City Point Hosp’t… I am still in the hospital… The regiment is still at the front and the other day they commenced to build winter quarters… there is rumor here that Marshal is dead… ”
12. Jan. 19th 1865, United States Commission, City Point, VA…”Dear Sister, I…am getting along very well at present”.
13. June 6th, 1665(error on our part in the transcript should be 1865), Camp Near the Capital, Washington D.C…”we are now guarding the prisoners that are on trial here before the military Court Marshal”…
14. August 23rd, 1864(error on our part in the transcript, should be 1865), Fort Sumner, D.C., “We muster out day after tomorrow and the next day we are to start for Rochester…home in two weeks after that…”
15. August 27th, 1865, Fort Sumner D.C….”Dear Friend Lou… Do you hear any thing about men around there buying up discharges here. They give two hundred dollars for the old two year discharges and three for those of sixty five, but I think that if my discharge is worth three hundred dollars to them it certainly will be to me. They say that instead of the government giving land that they are a going to give the soldiers three fifty in gold… I am on guard today and I intend it shall be my last day to bring my gun home with me. It has been in twenty four different engagements that I know of and how many more I don’t know but this I do know that it is the oldest gun in the whole regiment and I carried it through three hard fights but it is not quite as good looking as it might be for it has been in the service ever since sixty one, for it had a piece of paper under the pitch on which was written Captured from the yanks at the first battle of Bull Run by …and was picked up at the Wilderness by a man in our company and he went to the hospital at Spotsylvania and there I took it and kept it until we marched from Cold Harbor to Petersburg and then I picked up one that suited me better and I gave it to a fellow in the company who had no gun and he kept it until into September and then I got back to the regiment and they gave me the same old gun which I carried through the Pegrum Farm fight on the thirtieth say of September and when I went to the hospital at the Point I took it with me…”
16. October, 1865, Sawyer House, Jefferson, Wis – this letter was not transcribed.
There is a CWdata information sheet on the 14th NY Heavy Artillery included, as well as the info on William Williams.
There are a few envelopes included, torn, stain, paper loss, written on, and marks. Please view all photos.
All documents are in used condition. Some have holes, tears, staining, creasing, all have been folded, various types of ink, pencil used. All but 2 letters were transcribed (could not read them).
Condition overall of all the letters vary – all are used, various types of ink / pencil were used. Staining, tears, paper loss, all have folding, creasing, use, and heavy wear. Please view all photos for details.
There were many photos to cram into this listing and I got them all on… so please have patience in viewing them, I had the transcription first, then the letter it went with.