A ‘Fire-Breathing’ Union Soldier

48 [Civil War] Beard, E. J. H. Archive of 59 Civil War Letters, August 3, 1864 – June 17, 1865, plus an additional 11 post-Civil War Letters, 1867-1875, and one typed letter from 1918 recounting his early life experiences. Together 59 letters with 240 pages of war-date content plus 12 letters with 47 pages of personal and non-war datecontent, for a total of
approximately 287 pages. Condition of letters is generally excellent (a couple of exceptions are letter 43, which is lightly foxed andclosely written in pencil, however, the transcript shows quite an interesting battlefield letter,) the letters are written in a fine, easily readable hand; in addition, the collection includes quite a number of Civil War postal covers. Housed in a binder with mylar sleeves. Partial transcripts available.

A very large group of letters (nearly 300 manuscript pages) from a young man educated
at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York who enlisted in the 91st New York Infantry. Beard writes while his regiment is on the road to Appomattox; he is a prolific letter writer and his observations show a keen intellect and interest in his surroundings. Then while
stationed at City Point on Sept. 20th, 1864, he writes, “We hear at intervals the booming of the Petersburg siege guns and last night the rebs were said to have made a foraging raid within a short distance of camp…. I am not sorry that I enlisted, it is too big a thing not to have a hand in… I feel it is a glorious cause & that there can be no fail.” This gives some idea of his literacy and the great readability of his letters. On March 29th, after leaving Fort McHenry, he writes: I was in the front rank and your prayers were answered, Dear Sister, as the man (Phelps) next on my left was shot dead & the one on my right was wounded… the enemy as you will know ere this reaches you were beaten…marched until about upon the next day and came upon the enemy. This time it was their turn to be flanked and we did most everlastingly drive them charging them through the thickets and swamps where they were concealed driving them miles on the double quick and completely flanking them capturing thousands and taking their cannon… The skunks had made miles of breast works, and we surprised them by coming in on the back side, instead of in front. We cared but little if the [minnie] balls did fall like hail stones we did a glorious thing and took Richmond.” A great group of very readable Civil War letters.

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