Original Cache of Letters
Original Cache of Letters

CIVIL WAR CORRESPONDENCE OF HARLAN P. MARTIN CO. E 123RD N.Y. VOLS. Extensive grouping of letters from Pvt. Harlan P. Martin of Co E 123rd N.Y. Vols. approx. sixty letters of which about fifty are war-date most letters averaging 4pp. 8vo. all written to his mother from Sep 24 1861 until about Apr. 25 1866 (a few later and some bearing no year but clearly of war-date). Martin’s handwriting is generally very legible and articulate his spelling is very good and almost all of the letters are accompanied by their original covers. The correspondence opens with Martin in camp in upstate New York where he has signed with the “”Northern Black Horse Cavalry””. December finds him in Washington visiting other regiments including that of Elmer Ellsworth. New Year’s Eve 1861 has most of the regiment “”nicely drunk or dead drunk”” with one man going home on a forged pass another man locked up for returning late. March has the regiment before Fredericksburg. Martin gets a glimpse of Joe Hooker: “”…he looks like some old farmer or Deacon. He looks where he has been out sucking blood…””. At this period in time the regiment was at Stafford Court House Va. On May 8 there is a heavy engagements with many killed and taken prisoner. After further skirmishing they move on past Gettysburg to Kellys Ford in pursuit of Confederate forces which they engage on Aug. 23. They move further along the Rapidan skirmishing before being moved to Tennessee and Bridgeport Alabama where they commence raiding Confederate positions. Martin also describes the ambush of a patrol the failure of a pontoon bridge causing the drowning deaths of rebel prisoners colored regiments and so on. The regiment returns to Estell Springs in Tennessee where they again only occasionally skirmish. The correspondence then jumps to Marietta Ga. mid-1864 25 miles from Atlanta as the regiment prepares for an assault on that key city. The final wartime letters in this grouping are written from the Carolinas with a modicum of battle content as the war winds down to its final days. Overall very good. While most of the letters in this grouping are generally of routine “”Camp”” content a fair percentage contain some interesting battle and related content.

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