29th Massachusetts Infantry soldier's letter/ Newport News
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Soldier's Letter, 4 pages, 8vo., Camp Butler, Newport News (Virginia), Oct. 10, 1861. John Murray Atwood (Co. E, 29th Massachusetts Infantry, later in 36th Massachusetts Infantry) writes concerning an attack by the rebels:

"...Last Monday we moved our Battalion inside the Battery close by the big guns that I have to drill on. I liked the move...because it makes it so handy for me especially in case of an attack...there is a report circulating here today that Col. (John B. "Prince John") Magruder and a large force of troops did start from Yorktown as his letter stated but while they were crossing a long bridge and just as they had go fairly on to it with all their artillery and infantry the bridge gave way and let them all into the river the Col. with the rest killing and drowning quite a number and that was the reason they did not make an attack that day. I think it was a pity it did not kill every devil of them. We heard all about their coming before they started. There was a letter sent to Gen. Phelps from a Vermonter in the Rebel Army. He was pressed into the army and so he is acting as a spy. Gen. Phelps is a Vermonter and for that reason he lets him know all their proceeding. We heard last Saturday morning by a letter from this man that they were coming Sunday night. They started and got as far as the bridge and it gave way and for that reason they gave up the idea of coming right away but there is one thing certain if they ever do come here they will meet with a warm reception for we can turn all our large cannons right upon them if they come from the direction we think they will and that is the only direction they can come with any artillery, but if ever they come there will be an awful slaughter. We can throw a shell or shot of canister or grape shot nearly as large as a bucket and if ever we do get a chance to throw a shot or shell of that kind into their ranks it must make an awful slaughter and then we being inside the battery we can stand five times our number. It is calculated that one man behind a breastwork is equal to four or five in front of it and for that reason we shall have the advantage of them...

You wanted to know whether I consider my position any more dangerous by being on the guns. I dont know whether it is or not but that is generally the first thing they do is to silence the artillery first. Whether it is or not I had rather be there for we generally have more to do and there is more excitement about it for that reason I rather be there...Murrey"

Pencil, some aging, otherwise fine. Comes with the original patriotic cover. Stamp cut out.

  • Item #: MA29

29th Massachusetts Infantry soldier's letter/ Newport News

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