SOLDIER LETTER - 111th PENNSYLVANIA VOLUNTEERS

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Dated April 19, 1862, from the “Camp of The 111th Regt. Penn. Volunteers, Col. Matthew Schlaudecker/ Mc. Kim Mansion. Baltimore. MD/ April 19, 1862.” [The above address underlines a 7.25 x 4” lithograph of the 111th PA camp, published by E.A Sachse, 1862; which serves as an unusual and extremely attractive letterhead]. From an unknown 111th PA soldier (signature indecipherable) to “Hon. C. Curry Esq.” 3 pp., in ink, on lined paper, 8.25 x 11.875”. Exhibits fold-marks and one small circular stain. Ink is lightly faded, otherwise legible, excepting the soldier signature.

 

The letter opens with the 111th PA soldier asking Mr. Murray forbearance concerning the payment of earlier loans, explaining that his army pay has been delayed:

“My Dear Sir….My note at your office due the 24th & 28th. Have I not asked and rec. so many favors from you. I should like you to hold it a few days, and charge me what you think right. We should have had our army pay the first of March but have not yet rec. it…we/ rec. part of our pay which amount it took to pay up and keep us long to this time. They have now commenced paying and must reach us soon. They owe us between 6-7000 dollars of our pay due Jan. first….I will send the money by express as soon as rec’d….”

The soldier correspondent then goes on mention his unusual stationery letterhead, saying : “I send you a copy of our Camp which however we are this morning commanded to evacuate for the purpose of preparing this place for the wounded expected from your town. It is the impression that a battle is now progressing there.”

Followed by some hard remarks concerning Rebel sympathizers in Baltimore:

“I often think since I came here some of your expressions about the propriety of hanging Rebels. I assure you had I the power some of the secess. In this city would pull hemp. You can scarcely have an idea of the disloyalty of this place even our soldiers are often insulted by them. Much complaint exists here among Union citizens against Gen. Dix--[who earlier had arrested the Maryland legislature to prevent the passage of an ordinance of secession]—they think him not stout enough. As an instance of the feeling here, at the time of the removal of the Winchester Prisoners, women would wave their hankeys ____their hands, hurrahed for Jeff D. whilst their _____husbands stood approvingly in the background”

“Many of our Regiment are sick of measles but the reports of shooting and to be shot in paper of our town are untrue with the exceptions of one accidentally shot though the arm”

The letter concludes with a section and postscript hinting that its writer was possibly intending to go AWOL (absent without leave) whether his regiment liked or not:

“The intend going home as soon as we get setted up (settled up with pay?) As it will not be safe at present to follow them further south as the difficulty of getting goods, risk…is more than I will take. We have come well so far, and I won’t fool it away.”

PS—Say nothing about my intention to come home, as the Regiment are appose to our leaving them.”

 

The 111th PA Infantry was organized in Erie, PA, in the autumn of 1861. Stationed in Baltimore at the time this letter was written, the regiment went on to serve in the Shenandoah, and in the Army of Virginia through Cedar Mountain (August 1862), afterwards being assigned to the 12th Corps, Army of the Potomac, with whom it was present at the Battle of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. In October 1863 the 12th Corps was re-constituted as the 20th and transferred to Sherman’s command, participating in the Atlanta Campaign, the March to the Sea and through the Carolinas, concluding with the Battle of Bentonville. During service the unit lost 145 men killed and mortally wounded, and 155 by disease for a total of 304.

A highly intriguing 111th PA letter, with a unique regimental letterhead. Invites further research. In protective sleeve.    [jp]

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