Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

Lot 1027

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Excellent content Union soldier's letter by Sgt. John G. Abbott, Co. D, 48th New York Infantry, 6pp. 4to. with cover, 'In Camp Folly Island', July 7 [1863]', to his father. Abbott describes events leading up to the assault on Fort Wagner which would occur 11 days hence. In part: '…On the evening of the 3rd of July we rec'd marching orders…to be ready to embark early in the morning…as we were in the right of the Brigade, we had to embark last so as to land first…Gen. Strong and Staff came on board with us…at sunset we were about five miles north of the Bar and quite a number of the Boys were singing 'N.Y.'…At 10 1/2 in the evening, we came up to the fleet opposite Strong Inlet, and we was hailed by the Gun Boat Rover…things were not yet ready for us to disembark and that we had better return to the [Hilton] Head to prevent being seen by the Rebels…Gen. Strong remained with Seymour and went to Folly Island…met the U.S. Gun Boat Massachusetts with Adl. Dahlgren aboard and mail onboard…He is to be here tonight with three more of the Monitors…cruised around near Edisto so as to prevent the Rebels from seeing us…we were at the bar at Stono…We were the first to land…some had to land in small boats…the whole Brigade was landed together…all the Steamers out of sight to sea before daylight…marched about four miles up the beach…we were waked up to get our coffee which the 6th Ct. had prepared for us…There was near 7,000 here before we came here, and I think there is now at least 12,000….the 52nd and 104th and the Negro Regts. [including the 54th Mass.] are to be here tonight…and they are all encamped in the woods behind the beach, and anyone passing the shore could not tell there was 500 men on the Island…we are not to stay here more than a day or two if we are successful…had a good view of Moultrieville, could see the flags on the tops of the houses, and see the Rebel Steamers…could also see the Rebel Pickets on the Island, which is not more than 400 yards of our masked batteries…we have about 35 rifled guns and 15 ten-inch mortars…ready to open up…if the Monitors get here tonight, the ball will commence…All our guns bear direct on the Batteries…300 Rebels bathing on the channel…within 40 yards of our batteries…sharp shooters could have killed every one of them…The attack now depend on our Monitors getting here as it is to be a land and Naval attack together. The Gun Boats is to shell them in the front…while we shell them in front on this side and rear…Charleston is destined to be ours…To take Charleston, men must be killed, and it may be I…I would rather die trying to enter Charleston, the heart of secession, than die in our hospitals…' Much more detail in this historic content letter. In the assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, the loss of the 48th was 242 killed, wounded and missing. Sgt. Abbott would be among them – he would die from his wounds a few weeks after the engagement that decimated his regiment.

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October 29, 2020, 10:00 AM EST

Chesapeake City, MD, US

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