1864-65 Union Civil War Sergeants Letters (4 Pcs) 30th Maine Infantry Regiment
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1864-65 Union Civil War Sergeants Letters (4 Pcs) 30th Maine Infantry Regiment:
Very interesting group of (4) 1864-65 Union Civil War soldier's letters from Sergeant Henry N. Fairbanks, Company "E," 30th Maine Intantry Regiment, to his mother and father at home, and a woman friend in Boston, Massachusetts.
The letters read, in part:
[New Orleans, Louisiana, Jun 29 1864] "I have been in N. Orleans since the 25th, on seven days leave of absence from the Army. I have collected pretty extensively about $100 ... I am staying with Mr. Hatch family, of course enjoying it much. I sent by mail this morning the shirt that I had at the time I was wounded. I wish to keep it. On the left arm you will find two holes, one half square & the other is torn a little. The man did that while expanding the hole near the wrist band. Has nothing to do with the shot. I have got me a splendid valise and pants, coat, blouse, not dress coat. The Army I think will go up to help [Union General William T.] Sherman very soon, and I am fearful that they may move before I get back. I am very well -- weigh 150 lbs. and feel first rate. I had my shoulder straps [for his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant] put on by Bina Hatch and am quite a Lieut. Ha! I have considerable business to do & shall be obliged to close. I expect there are letters up to camp for rme from you ... Tell mother I hope she is well ... [signed] H. N. Fairbanks."
[Camp at Algiers LA, Jul 5 1864] "I wrote you a line or two at N. Orleans while I was In the city. You know the object of my visit, and I need not comment. I returned to Morganza the 1st of July. Left N. Orleans on the 30th June. I found the Regt. all ready to move and on orders. I helped Capt. Randall complete the muster rooms and packed up at night of the second. We took the ocean steamer ALABAMA and arrived at N. Orleans the night of the 3rd. Yesterday, the 4th, we came to our present position on the west side of Miss[issippi] River at Algiers. Col. Hubbard is sick, and Capt. now Major Randall, is in command of the Regt. I am in command of the C[ompany] and have a tent tomyself and one Mr. Peavey from Waterville to look after our bed & board. You remember him, he was in the cook house in Augusta. I have not quite a good outfit and am getting along finely ... It has been very sickly with us. We have lost many. Three men died on the boat while we were coming down. Sergt. Green has rec'd his commission and has gone to Co. H ... we are about to move on an expedition [Red River Campaign]. I think it means Mobile, but you need not think to change to hear from us at James River with [General Ulysses S.] Grant. All is a mere conjecture, you know. The wound on my arm was light, but one inch nearer to my body and I would have lost my arm. It was on the elbowjoint and for a time painful, so near the bone did the shot go. I was close to the enemy and it was in full force, of course. It felt like a hot iron, and for the moment I expected my arm was shot through. I still kept on, and had five splendid shots after I was wounded ... Lieut. Seavey was the one that you used toknow. I think he was about 50 years of age. He used to speak of you after we became acquainted ... I went to see Russell Raymond the 29th of June. He was badly & I feared he would not get well. Today Robert Love came over from the Marine Hospital and said that Russell died July 1st. I feel very badly, for he was a good soldier and always so willing. I can't offer any words of consolation. Still another sacrifice. We shall notice officially from the Hospital & if it should be of a different date, I shall write ... [signed] Henry."
[Camp, 30th Regt. Maine Infty. Vols., Bolivar Heights VA, near Harpers Ferry, Sept 1864] Shenandoah Valley Campaign. "I think I will tell you a little of Harper's Ferry and its surrounding, as I have an hour or two today. Nearly the first thing I ever heard connected with this place was the voice of John Brown ... Here, the government turned out a large number of the well known Harper's Ferry Musket, thousands of which the rebels stole away, and in their hands have caused many Union soldiers to heave the expiring sigh, as their souls passed to that Land where brother lives and blessedbrethren. I am told it was here that [Confederate General] 'Stonewall' Jackson reunited his Brigade, which is to this day so famous in his old command, and by one of its members, a prisoner I was told only a few days ago, that only two hundred remained alive. The frequent changing of hands of Harper's Ferry I will not attempt to enumerate. One of these changes I will mention, But before I do, I will notice some of Nature'sarrangements: hills, bluffs, rivers, etc. Imagine you standing on Maryland Heights six hundred feet above the river facing the west, or gazing at the 'sacred soil of old Virginia.' On your left, across the river, are Loudon Heights or the 'Blue Ridge' [Mountains], nearly as high at the spot here you stand. Beside this range, you can trace the serpentine form of the Shenandoah River which joins the waters of the Potomac, just below the Ferry. Casting your eyes far off the right, you will, in like manner, be able to get glimpses of the Potomac, which passes directly in your front far below. Maryland Heights commands the whole country for miles around, and is strongly fortified. Now descend the Heights, and cross the Potomac River at the Ferry, and while so doing, you will have an ample opportunity to observe the confluences of the rivers just a few rods below. The town is a dingy, dirty place, showing you at every place the dilapidating effects of war. Both parties in prominence have beenburned, or driven out long, long ago. Two miles, or so, on the turnpike to Halltown, you will pass through the little place called Bolivar Village, half a mile on the turnpike, and you are in Bolivar Heights, which at the present time are occupied by the 3rd Brigade, 1st Div., 14th Corps, and you know that the 30th is in the 3rd Brig. Now to the item: Col. Miles surrendered the summer of sixty two. He ordered the troops to evacuate Md. Heights, rolled his seige guns down the bluff, crossed his troops to Bolivar and vicinity on the Va. side of the Potomac. The enemy had previously forded the river Potomac & made an assault on the Heights and had been repulsed, with the Confederates now occupied the stronghold and placed their guns. They held both Md. and Louden Heights and have batteries on high ground operating in front of Bolivar Heights. There was fire on all sides, and of course Col. Miles must surrender his whole command, which consisted of (12) thousandtroops with a large amount of stores. This was set down as one of the foulest and and most unsoldierlike acts of the war, and history will undoubtedly place Miles on the list with [Revolutionary War General Benedict] Arnold and others of their stomach. It let a host of the enemy into Md., and no doubt caused the enemy all the success they claim in the first invasion of Maryland. Had he on the other hand evacuated all on the Va. side of the Potomac, placed his command on the Heights and the entire rebel army could not have him for days. There he did when he could hear the the frequent firing of [Union General William Buell] Franklin's cannons, who told him in thunder that success was near of hand. My feelings find nothing to express myindignation & so it is with every true soldier. The summary of which I have told you is truly romantic and I enjoy looking from hill to hill & river to river. Spots are frequently pointed out as being used to John Brown & his ----, shall we say foolishfollowers. I am told there is a cave not far from here in which some of Brown's men hid themselves and used it for several purposes. I intend to visit it ... [signed] Henry."
[United States House, Portland ME, Aug 25 1865; to his friend Fanny (Lamont)] "We arrived here last night at 6 o'clock [from Savannah, Georgia] all 'safe and sound.' Our passage, on the whole, was a pleasant one, but I enjoyed it little. I have been full of business all day, and have just taken time for theespecial purpose of writing to you and my parents. I still feel the motion of the steamer, and am not fit to use a pen. I have found many of my old friends, and all seem to be glad to meet me. I've not heard from home yet. Think I shall not go up until ourbusiness is closed off. We expect to get 'mustered out' and paid about Wednesday next. I am anxious to see all of the family, as soon as convenient, now [that] I am so close to home. Please write me soon and often. I am moremyself ... Address your letters to Wayne Me. ... Think I shall make a trip to Boston in a few weeks, and then I will take a walk, call at 55 Cambridge St., and inquire for Miss Lamont. Hope you have forgiven your friend who wronged you ... if you want to and feel forgiveness is due him. You know we have a class of people who only ask forgiveness then they comprehend that it is for their interest, thus their object be hidden from view. However I trust you will be able to tell me when you intend to be married, as you desired me to be in relation to those 'pretty Maine girls.' I am going home, ask Mother if I am old enough, and then perhapsawait. I don't love everybody so much as I used to. My heart has been (I will express it bysaying) iron clad since I have passed the years of twenty one ... [signed] H. N. Fairbanks."
Henry N. Fairbanks,, 25 years old, of Wayne ME, enlisted on Dec 12 1863, as a Sergeant and was mustered into Company "E," 30th Maine InfantryRegiment. He was promoted on approximately Apr 9 1864 to 2nd Lieutenant. Fairbanks was mustered out on Aug 20 1865 at Savannah GA.
The 30th Maine Infantry Regiment fought in the Red River Campaign, Battles of Sabine Cross Roads, Pleasant Hill, Cane River Crossing, Bermuda Hundred, Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign and Bunker Hill. The unit was present at the Grand Review in Washington DC, May 23-14 1865, before moving to Savannah GA, where they were mustered out.
Our brief research file, including regimental history isincluded.
Good condition, a few very minor breaks at folds, which have been skillfully repaired with professional archival tape.
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