Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 39B

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Fine grouping of three war-date diaries of Sgt. Cyrenius R. Stickles of the 1st N.Y. Engineers, one daily entry in clear, legible pencil per page, covering various periods of time the period from the day of his enlistment, Nov. 16, 1861 until a week after he is mustered out, Dec. 24, 1864. Stickles and the 1st N.Y. saw action along the coast of the Carolinas, at the siege of Fort Wagner, at Bermuda Hundred, and also during the siege of Petersburg. In small part: "...Sworn into the U.S. service, then went to Barnum museum...attend the burial of one of our company...we buried him in the deep, deep sea...at Bermuda Hundred, as also during the siege of Petersburg...He loved the bottle most, too well for his own good...so he killed himself...had a general inspection by Brigadier General Sherman...a battle has been going on near Beaufort...the 8th N.Y. Regt. drove the rebels and burnt the place...I have just seen a balloon ascension by Prof [Thaddeus] Lowe the first one I ever saw...Capt. Gun shot himself today with a pistol, he put the muzzle to his mouth and the ball went up through the top of his head...I can hear heavy cannonading in the direction of Fort Pulaski...we had a nice time a playing ball...we heard tremendous firing at Fort Pulaski...the report is that the fort has surrendered...about 100 prisoners came here...we left St. Augustine for Hilton Head...the General wanted to know whether we would do our duty or not and we all finally concluded it was best to do our duty...our guns has been given back to us...There was 5 or 6 Co. A that still refuse to do duty and they have sent them to the provost guard...we had 4 prisoners to carry knapsacks with 20 lbs in it 6 hours a day...had one drunken man from another regt. In a while, he was also relieved and one to carry a barrel with a hole through the bottom, it came down around the body...we landed on Folly Island...the ironclads and Fort [?] had an engagement of about 2 h. long when the ironclads went back to sea again and three run past the fort...there was a man shot by the sergt. Today...he was out of camp drunk and the sergt. was after him, the man used some vulgar language and the sergt. shot him dead...the bombardment of Morris Island began this morning......we have possession of 3 batteries on it...at daylight the rebs opened fire on our gunboats also attacked our pickets...about 10 killed and 25 wounded...our folks made a charge on Fort Wagner but met with a repulse with a loss of about 500 in killed and wounded...rebs came down with a flag of truce and a lot of our sick and wounded soldiers so the firing stopped all day...Sumter is getting battered up pretty well...we were fired at by sharpshooters at Fort Wagner & a flag of truce was sent to the front but no use...very sharp fire from Wagner and Johnson but did no serious injury except to knock down some of our works...one man was killed about 5 feet from me by a solid shot, he had about one half his head blown off. The Lieut. Col. of the 8th Pa. Regt. was killed by a shell from one of our own guns, it blew his brains out...the monitors went up towards Fort Moultrie and he and other batteries opened on them, and there was brisk fire...severe fire all the afternoon, one mortar from Wagner...and a battery from James Island, also sharpshooters...the monitors would not help us, if they knew they would save a hundred lives...party went out in some boats, their intentions were to take possession of Greg and spike the guns and leave but they met 15 rebs in a boat [and] captured them...kept up a constant fire on Wagner...one of Co. B men had his head blown off by a torpedo...we are in possession of Forts Wagner & Greg...scouts and ironside commenced on Fort Moultrie and the batteries on Sullivans Island...had a magazine destroyed and a number of fires...they say Fort Sumter has been on fire for two or three days...anchored at Hilton Head...some of the hands on board got drunk and we had them bucked and gagged...one of our boys got stabbed by an Italian...encountered a heavy force at Olustee...began to retreat with a loss of about 2,000 men...the steamer Maple Leaf was blown up by a torpedo...our first job is to stockade Battery Burnside...there was a man shot for desertion...everyone was ordered out to see the execution. It was a solemn scene and it is hard to think of, but I say let them be loyal. He stood it like a brave soldier...we went over to the soldiers burying ground...we saw two buried while we were there from the U.S.C.T...rebs have opened a battery from just below Secessionville and are shelling Middle Island...this evening there is a large fire in Charleston...went over to the Swamp Angel and hung a door to a magazine...I have been up to Gregg viewing this forenoon, there was a flag of truce boat come out from the City...". The diaries continue with descriptions of continuing bombardments of the forts surrounding Charleston, and conclude with his return home. Very good condition. Sold with Stickles' post war collar and cuff box, red fabric-covered with two compartments, each topped with a leather cover embossed with an eagle motif, ca. 1870. A rare set of engineer's diaries from the siege of Charleston. EBAY 3500

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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