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1862 Manuscript Civil War Soldier's Letter W/ Fantastic Battle Content Roanoke For Sale
Rare and simply FANTASTIC, original, 1862 four page, manuscript Civil War Soldier's letter with the entire content detailing the actions of the 5th Rhode Island Infantry at the Battle of Roanoke Island February 7th-8th, 1862. It was written by Private Benjamin F. Drown of Company C., 5th Regiment Rhode Island Infantry. Included with this Letter is a 1/9 plate portrait of Benjamin F. Drown in uniform.
The 5th Rhode Island Infantry was organized at Providence, Rhode Island as a battalion of five companies and mustered in December 16, 1861. An additional five companies were raised afterward and mustered in December 27, 1862. After being mustered in on December 16, 1861, Benjamin F. Drown was aboard the large transport Kitty Simpson with his Regiment, the 5th Rhode Island Volunteers by the middle of January, 1862. The transport made its' way through Chesapeake Bay to Hatteras Inlet. The opening phase of what came to be called the Burnside Expedition, the Battle of Roanoke Island was an amphibious operation of the American Civil War, fought on February 7–8, 1862, in the North Carolina Sounds a short distance south of the Virginia border. It was the first action seen by Private Drown and the 5th Rhode Island and it was a jarring way the "see the elephant" for the first time.
This fantastic, Battle Content Civil War letter was written from Roanoke Island, Department of North Carolina and dated February 14th, 1862 (one week after the Battle). It was written by Private Benjamin F. Drown of Company C., 5th Regiment Rhode Island Infantry to his Grandparents. It is written on a 4 page folded letter sheet and each page measures approx. 4 3/8" x 7" and the manuscript covers the entire surface of all four pages.
Rather than attempting to summarize the content of this Letter, we will reproduce the contents in its entirety and let the tale of the Battle of Roanoke Island be told in Private Drown's own words.
The Body of the Letter Reads as Follows:
I say grandparents for I have a number of letters to write and not much time to write them in for we are working nearly all the time cleaning up our new camp.
We are all well and in the best of spirits after the battle. I suppose you have been worried a good deal and don't wonder at it if you have but we have all stood it bravely and got along through it first rate. Here we are landed and got full possession of the Island, but a week ago at this time we were sending in our shells here by the wholesale. One of our gunboats alone sent 360 shells into the Island so you can imagine how our gunboats fired and kept it up for six hours until sunset when they stopped until morning. We landed about 2 o'clock Saturday morning when we landed in the rain and waded through the mud and water up to our knees with all our equipment and knapsacks and all on - they landed us on an open corn field and there we stayed the rest of the morning, raining all the time.
Just at daybreak in the morning they cried to arms, for the Rebels were driving in our pickets, so we all formed in a line of battle, about 12,000 of us and standed for them as we traveled along through the woods for about 2 miles. When about 8 o'clock the firing began and at 9 o'clock they were into them strong. Volley after volley was fired by our side...wizzing and cracking like so many powder crackers only a nation louder. Well we stood waiting for further orders when they commenced bringing the dead and wounded by us. That made us mad, for then we wanted to get at the rascals for they led us into an awful swamp by coming with what infantry they had and kept falling back until they got to their marked battery.
Then they opened on us with cannon. They only had one third the numbers of men that we did but the position they held was strong enough for three times our number. Well, they kept throwing their grape and cannister at our men making most horrid works cutting off legs, arms and all sorts of wounds. it was an awful sight I tell you.
Just then the Zouaves give one of their awful yells and made most gallant charge right over their breast works...then the cowards run for the North End of the Island and our troops after them and we took them all prisoners, some 3000 of them beside 35 cannon, arms and ammunition".
Benjamin concludes his letter by "thanking the Lord for sparing our lives through such a battle" and signs it "Good By from your Grandson, Benjamin F. Drown / Love to all".
This very rare, original Civil War Soldier's Letter is in very good to excellent condition. The sheets are generally clean and the handwriting is dark and bold - neat and legible. The Sheets exhibit some very light edge wear and have one horizontal and vertical crease (as sent) with some associated toning at the creases. We do not have the original envelope. The Letter came to us from a Rhode Island estate with a small archive of Civil War letters from 2 different soldiers and it is newly discovered and has never been offered for sale before.
The Ambrotype portrait of the author of this letter is in excellent condition - clean and crisp - sharp and very well preserved with its original paper seals intact. It came to us with the letter and wrapped in a period piece of paper with a second, identical portrait of Private Drown. The paper is inscribed "Harold Drown / War Picture of B. F. Drown". We will include a photo copy of this paper wrap with the Ambrotype (the original paper wrap will be sold next week with the second, identical Ambrotype portrait of Private Drown).
A VERY rare and fascinating, original, 1862 manuscript Civil War Soldier's letter with excellent battle content and a fantastic addition to any collection!!!
Click here to read more about the Battle of Roanoke Island.
Overseasshippping is extra and cost will be quoted at buyers request. Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax.
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1862 Manuscript Civil War Soldier's Letter W/ Fantastic Battle Content Roanoke: $503