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1863 Camp Mansfield, La Civil War Cover & Letter Terrific Content For Sale
This letter was written by Phillip I. Miller (1839-18xx), a wheelwright who emigrated from Germany. He enlisted in Co. I, 156th New York Regiment in August 1862 at Westfield (on Staten Island), Richmond County, New York, and was mustered in as a private. A couple of months later, he was promoted to corporal. He appears to have missed little active duty with his Company until late March 1863 when he contracted typhoid fever and was absent for several months convalescing in a hospital at Baton Rouge and possibly elsewhere. When he returned to his unit in December 1863, he was reduced to a private. He was detailed to the Brigade Commissary in September 1864 and mustered out of the service with his Company in October 1865 at Augusta, Georgia.
According to the Company Records, Phillip Miller stood 5 ft. 9½ inches tall, had blue eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion.
This is a marvelous Civil War letter and illustrated patriotic cover "Doom of the Traitors Flag" written by a New York soldier near New Orleans, Louisiana. Very descriptive, references travel on the steamboat G.B. McClellan from Key West, Florida, talks of sinking a rebel iron gunboat, rebel forts, seeing "darkies" and "niges" on the shores of the Mississippi River (slaves working on plantations) - and more - see full transcript below !
Camp Mansield Carrollton, Louisiana January 4, 1863
Dear Friends Mr. & Mrs. Taylor
I wish you all a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.
Dear Friend Bill,
We left Key West on the 22nd in the Steamer G. B. McClellan and were so crowded that our company had to sleep on deck. The first night passed very well but the next day was rough and we all got seasick and it was fun to see the boys crawl on the leeward side to cast up their accounts but it only lasted for one day; then were alright again. The rest of the voyage was quite pleasant if they had only given us enough to eat in the morning. They would give us a cup of coffee at five in the morning and 3 hard biscuits, and for dinner a piece of salt horse & for tea we had what was left from dinner.
On Christmas morning, we entered the mouth of the Mississippi River. It looked more like [a] Crick than the great Mississippi. At the mouth of this Great River, there is a large bay and looks like a _____ ____ and as far as the eye can behold, the wild geese & dicks as thick as hair on a dog.
We had a nice day for Christmas and enjoyed our sail. Everything looked strange and new. When we got up the [river] some five miles, we came by two forts -- one on each side; Fort Jackson & Fort Phillips. They look savage. And about a half mile farther is one of the Rebel's Iron Rams which our gun boats sunk. It is a queer looking thing -- mostly all iron. The river is full of drifted timber and the houses are built on piers to keep the water out of the cellars.
After we got up the river some 20 miles we came in sight of the plantations and orange groves. It would make your mouth water to see them. The trees are about the size of a peach tree. The oranges are so thick and yellow & the leaves so green, it is the nicest thing I ever saw grow. The plantations cultivate sugar all together and look like small villages to see the Niges ["Nigg's"] huts. Some has from 2 or 3 Niges House just like Hen offerdle on the Mill Lane and the Darkies live better [than] the Irish on the [Staten] Island. They had Hallow Day Christmas and they came down to the river to cheer us as we passed by. To see them move, you would have said they were all Niges.
We arrived at the City of New Orleans on Christmas night and anchored. What we could see of the city looked very well. They keep Christmas as we do Fourth of July -- by discharging fire works. By next morning, we steamed up the river five miles and landed, marched ¾ of a mile and pitched our tents along side the shell road as they call it here. The road is made of shells and is as level as a floor and straight as a line as far as one can see. And I tell you what, there is some fine footing on it. We go to the river to wash every morning. There are plenty of troops around here and they are coming and going every day.
We had a pleasant day New Year's. We drilled three hours in the morning, then came in for dinner but our cooks got drunk and we had to do without. Drilled 2 hours in the afternoon and when we went after our tea, they let the bread fall in the beef barrel and got it soaked with brine so you see we had quite a feast for New Year's. Many a time did I wish I was where I was last New Year's Day, but we put on our buckskin gloves and took our ramrods for canes and went from tent to tent making calls. But we could not raise a treat.
Last night we had quite a shower and this morning when we turned out the Camp was overflowed. But as good luck would have it, we got boards for flooring for our tents and we did not get wet. But our officers had a fine time this morning when we went to look for them. We found the water about 6 inches and they standing on chairs to keep out the water. That was fun for us for every time we get in a scrape like that, they laugh at us. But this time the laugh came on the other side.
The weather is very fine and the ___s are making garden. The roses are in bloom and they are setting out cabbage plants and are eatables as ___ Turkeys 10 dollars a p__ fresh beef 50 lbs.Butter 30 cts. Cheese 25 Sugar the best 12 Molasses 60 cts Oranges 3 for 5 cts. Apples the same ilk 10 cts quart and so on. Our boys are quite well except the Dysentery is way bad here. The dew is very heavy every night and the ground when you lay down at night. In the morning your blanket is all wet. You dig two feet down and find water but they say it will kill one in two hours after you drink it and we have to be very careful what we eat and drink. It is now time for dress parade and I must close. Write soon for you can't imagine how glad it makes one feel to hear from his friends.
Give my love to Mrs. W. B. Taylor's family and to all enquiring friends and save a large portion for yourself.
Yours cordially, -- P. I. Miller
N. B. You must excuse my mistakes for there are 5 in one tent and some of them are raising Old Ned all the time. Yours, -- P. I. Miller
Direct to Corp. P. I. Miller, Co. I, 156 Regt. N.Y. Vols., Bank's Expedition, via Washington D.C.
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1863 Camp Mansfield, La Civil War Cover & Letter Terrific Content : $375