Original Civil War Letter by Union Soldier J. Touchstone, On the Banks of the Appomattox River Near Petersburg, Virginia, June 26th 1864 Measures Approx. 9 7/8 " x 7 7/8 " The author first scolds his family for not writing him often enough, then expresses his dismay over people (especially men) visiting the house at night while he is away and warns that he will have "no scandal about my house or family". He mentions crossing the James river, then describes "great fighting" and "slaughter" at Petersburg and states that it occurred the previous Friday and Saturday. The letter is dated June 26th 1864, which was a Sunday, making those days Friday, June 17th and Saturday the 18th, on which the heaviest fighting of the Second Battle of Petersburg occurred.
He also says that they (the Union forces under General Meade), were repulsed with losses of 8 to 10 thousand men, close to the historical figure of 11,386 total casualties. The failure to take the city during this assault marked the beginning of the Siege of Petersburg, which lasted until March 25th 1865.
This letter is in good shape showing some light wear, with a bit of wrinkling, fold creases, and a little light soiling / age-toning. Please see photographs for details. The entirety of the letter is transcribed below. Feel free to send us any questions or requests.
Banks of Appomattox, Near Petersburg VA, June 26th 1864 Dear M? , I have this day received from yours of the 12th inst. I have looked for many long days for a letter and almost arrived at the conclusion that you had all forgotten me. I think you should know that it is your duty to write me very often. There are four of you, to say nothing of mother, who could each write once a week and you ought to do it.
I have written many letters lately and in some of them I have spoken pretty plainly on this subject. I wrote Laura the last letter yesterday.I have written Cornelia on the subject and wish you would tell mother that I want her to see the letter. I want this business stopped at once. I want no scandal about my house or family, and I will not have it. I do not wish our house to be kept open of nights for the reception of public or private parties during my absence. When I come home, which I hope will be next month, I do not wish to be told that any improprieties have been going on while I have been away.
Tell dear "Mam" not to worry about this matter, but that she shall enforce obedience to my request in regard to the rules of the house. If certain parties wish to have their frolics, let them stay at their own homes if they have any. I wrote you a letter two or three days ago - hope you have received it. Wrote also, to mother and Laura. Wrote three letters to mother since crossing the James.I have moved my quarters out of the dust. Last evening had a splendid bath. Many boats pass up and down - they go almost every 1/4 hour. The little old Fairy came right along under our nose yesterday evening. I tell you it did me good to see her. It made me think of my dear old home. We have had great fighting at Petersburg - terrible slaughter on both sides - we have not been able yet to drive the rebs from their strongholds. They repulsed our forces with fearful slaughter on Friday and Saturday last. Loss 8 to 10 thousand. Many of our men are getting sick. Kiss mother and the "sweet pets" and give my love to all. I wrote to Aunt Cady yesterday.
He is in the hospital close by - heard from him this moment. Touchstone You may show mother this letter - tell her I send her a thousand kisses. The item "Civil War Letter Union Soldier Describes Assault in Siege of Petersburg VA 1864" is in sale since Thursday, May 10, 2018. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Correspondence, Mail".
The seller is "lks_treasure" and is located in Hackettstown, New Jersey. This item can be shipped worldwide.