40th New York Infantry soldier's letter/ Petersburg
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Two combined soldier's letters. The first 4 pages, 8vo., Camp near Petersburg, Va., July 31st, 1864. Uncompleted. Wilson Sproul (Co. C, 87th New Infantry, transferred 9/6/62 into Co. C, 40th New York Infantry) writes a letter to his sister pertaining to the Petersburg campaign and the "Crater Affair". There are six and 1/3rd  additional pages written and signed with full ID by Sproul to his mother, probably in September 1864 (starting with page 5 of the letter). Both parts of the letters have great content.

"...I now suppose that you would like some war news. So I must commence at the beginning I suppose. We broke camp on the 26 and marched out at 3 1/2 P.M. and marched all night crossed the Appomattox and on over to the James river and crossed that at daylight were some of our corps was engaged with the enemy and a part of our brigade was but we did not get engaged there. We was out on picket near all of the time we was over there. Our Corps drove the rebs back and captured four cannons they was 20 lb parrot rifled pieces and a number of prisoners then the night of the 28th we recrossed the James and on our way back marching all night layed in a woods the 29 until night and then marched out (our 8 in) and relieved the 18 & 10 corps in the front line of breast work. 

30th there was a fort of the rebs blown up (which the 9th corps had underminded previous to this). At 4 1/2 o'clock a.m. and then the mortar and artillery all opened which made noise enough I can tell you and the rebs throwing them shells right in our pits made it very uncomfortable for a while. But as soon as the fort was blown up nigs charged on the rebs and drove them back and took their third line of works but the rebs rallied and drove them back again..."

This part of the letter is probably written sometime in September, 1864.

"You said also the Chicago convention had nominated McClellan for the next presidency and that the copperheads is rejoicing over it and very confident of his election. I am very confident that he will not be elected. For some reason he does not stand as the copperheads think he was here in the army. I will give you an example  to  show for it self. In a battery here of 30 men they took a vote to see how McClellan stood here and of the thirty men McClellan got all of three (3) and Lincoln got the remainder. I think a fine majority. But the copperheads of the north does not know that this feeling is throughout the army and when they find it out they will not rejoice as they do now. But will be like some beaten dog seeking shelter where ever he can find any. You say that you think that Lincoln will be elected. I hope that he will with all of my heart for there is no other man yet on the board that would fill his place as he can him self and do as well for the country. So let us all do what we can for the reelection of him who deserves it for the next four years. It is well for us not to give up the race yet for it is but a short time. I think that we will have to run before we will be the winners. So it is only courage and then the country is safe. The rebellion is fast falling. I think that it is trying to prop it self up until after election and then if they do not get a president that will sympathise with them I think that they will fall to our mercy. The right must and shall prosper over this country of ours. The rebs say that they have lost Atlanta and that they have no hopes of retaking it again and they say that the loss of this Weldon road is no help to them for it is as much as they can do it to make the ends meet here now. So according to their own statements they are getting pretty hard up. Our men is building a railroad along in the rear of our army on out to the left where the fifth and ninth corps is on the rail road. It has been said that Early is falling back to Richmond from the valley and to reinforce Lee. So as I said before he will no doubt try the Weldon road...There was a fine salute fired the other night for the fall of Atlanta it was rather a double salute for they threw shell over in to the rebs. It was quite a nice scene to see the shells going across the fields and through the air...Wilson Sproul. Co. D, 40th N.Y S.V., 3rd Div., 2nd Corps, Washington D.C."

Some aging, otherwise fine.

  • Item #: NY40

40th New York Infantry soldier's letter/ Petersburg

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