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Superb, On the Spot, Blood and Guts, Fighting and Firing 12 Page Battle Letter from George S Youngs 126th New York Vols. Captured at Harpers Ferry. Twelve historic pages in deep pencil written from the field as the events unfolded. Battle letters are rare and desirable, this one is better than 99% of surviving battle letters. This constitutes one of the great battle letters surviving from the Civil War. It was transcribed by Scott, our graphic design man who produces our web pages and printed catalogs. He retained the misspelled words as written by Private Young. (The transcription may contain a few minor errors, but is overall accurate.)
Quoting...

Sept 22nd (1862)

We have just arrived here from Harpers Ferry after a long and tedious march of over eighty (80) miles and you may well suppose that I do not feel greatly inclined to write, especialy as nearly all of the boys have received letters to day, some of them got three or four and i felt somewhat disappointed at not getting at least one myself, but I suppose your letter must have ?miscarried? and I must write again I thought at first I would not but concluded I must at least let you know that I was alive and well. I suppose you received my other letter in which I state that we were expecting a battle every day, I have forgotten the day of the month on which I wrote and indeed it is not half the time that I can tell the day of week, yesterday you know was Sunday but I did not know it until after noon. but to return to my subject ??as any other man.?? some three or four days after that just about five oclock we received orders to strike our tent and move up on another and still higher hill called Bolivar heights. we got up on there just at dusk and formed in line of battle, pitched our tents and lay down to sleep. the next afternoon we had to move our tents again in order to form them in company streets. that night we were ordered to load and sleep on our arms. the next morning was Sunday and we went out to discharge our peices and so we fired at a target two or three times, the next night we were ordered to sleep on our arms again and so for two or three nights, they would omit one night and then the next we would have to sleep on our arms again until a week ago Thursday we were ordered to ?pack? knapsacks and fall in for eighty rounds of cartridge and be prepared to march. that night after taps (that is at half past nine at which time all lights must be out) when we were nearly all asleep we were ordered to go down the quartermasters and draw rations for two days and cook them, our K company employs two or so that we did not have any thing to do but go down to the quartermasters and bring them up to them. the next morning about 8 oclock the regiment was formed and marched about 3/4 of a mile when what ever orders the colonel had were countermanded and we were marched back to camp. then we began to think that it was all intended to see how quick we could form and be ready to march. but in the afternoon at two oclock we fell in and marched down through the Ferry, Crossed the Pontoon bridge and up on to the Maryland Heights, ... the highest hill I ever climbed and I never want to climb it again. about half way up the Mountain there was a battery of three heavy seige guns ??charging over a hundred?? pound shells, beside some small peices. the larger part of our regiment,(all excepting Co. A, and some dozen men from each Co who were left behind as pickets), proceeded to the top of the mountain and back through the woods two or three miles where there was part of an ohio regiment deployed as skirmishers, it was then nearly dark we advanced nearly to the edge of the woods, the buttets began to whistle pretty loud and close. our officers ordered us to get behind the trees and lay low and we were not slow in availling ourselves of their advice, the fireing continued for about 1/4 of an hour when it grew so dark that that they ceased, I had often heard of the peculiar whistle of a bullet and that night I had an oppertunity of hearing it for myself. I did not have an oppertunity of fireing my gun that night as the skirmishers were in advance of us and we could not fire without danger of hitting our own men. as soon as the firing ceased the ohio boys fell back and left us in the advance, we were formed in aline as the extreme outpost and lay there all night with our guns in our hands expecting an attack from the rebels every moment but it did not come untill morning and I lay there and shivered in the cold for I had no overcoat or blanket with me, nothing but my light blouse as I did not want to carry anything more up the hill than i could help. we lay within within sight of the rebel campfires all night and in the morning we could hear their officers give orders to them to “fall in”. right. dress, forward march, and so forth. and about 6 or 7 oclock the rebel skirmishers opened fire on us which was instantly returned. there was a cleared space in the woods 15 or 20 yards wide the rebs fired from one side of the clearing and we from the other. again we were all ordered to lie low behind trees and stumps, and when we saw a gray back to fire on him. I with two other of our Co lay behind a tree, with one of a Co of Cavalry who had been ordered up to support us when he imprudently exposed himself . in a second he jumped up put his hand to his thigh staggered a few steps and fell over on his side and called for his comrades to cary him off, four of them came and took him off in a blanket, in about twenty minutes after that there was a fellow came up from the right of the line who belonged to one other regiment... he was telling us about having been so close to them that he could hear them cursing and swearing at each other about something when just as he sad the last word a bullet struck him wounding him in both legs pretty badly, he was carried in the same manner as the other. shortly after this we were ordered to fall back to a kind of breastwork made of small logs. the rebs were said to be five to one before this breastwork... there was another cleared space, and as they advanced to the edge of this we fired on them, we would lie down behind the breastwork and load then get up and take aim and fire. I fired 25 rounds when we were ordered to fall back to the batterys way down the hill. after we got down there the battery commenced shelling them. these guns are capable of throwing shells five miles.. when they were fired the men were ordered told to hold their guns up straight for fear they would cause them to explode. one of the guns got hot and the men who were working it forgot to stop the vent, the consequence was that when the shell was put in and while two men were raming it down it exploded blowing both the men in peices, soon after this were ordered to retreat over in to virginia. across the potomac I suppose you understand that virginia is on one side and maryland on the other. I forgot to say that while we were behind the breastworks three of our Co were wounded Frank Cole in the left arm, adrian Foster in the calf of the leg, and john alliger over the eye so that it is supposed that the sight of it is entirely destroyed. The Col, also was wounded in the lower jaw. we reached bolivar heights, our old camp about 7 o’clock we lay on our arms that night, and the next morning Sunday the regiment was all set to digging a trench along the west brow of the hill so that the trench runs with the hill north and sought, we built a breastwork of the dirt thrown out of the trench and logs. we even took down our tents and piled them in, on the Southwest about two miles from bolivar heights, is a ridge called louden heights. on the east are the maryland heights, both of which command bolivar heights, on louden heights the rebs had a battery of eight or ten guns, which commenced shelling us just after dinner, the first shell burst close by us struck a stack of guns and broke them all in peices, flew off and struck two boys in Co K next to us on the left wounding them slightly. we were immediately ordered to raise our guns and lay down in the trenches. we were intirely surrounded before night there was another battery playing on us, oh how the shells flew it made duck and dodge you better beleive. that night they planted five or six batterys round us and the next morn we were obliged to surrender. I have said half i intended to but shall say more in regard to the shelling next time, don’t write until you hear from me again.
G. S. Y”

End quoted letter. If you can find a better battle letter at the price I will buy it from you. This piece of manuscript history is among the best available battle letters. $1.150.00