SOLDIER LETTER GROUP—SERGEANT WILLIAM F. MORGAN, CO. “C”, 2ND MASS. INFANTRY, WIA GETTYSBURG, 7/3/1863

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Item Code: 453-48

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8 letters written between November 1862 and 5/21/1864, to various family members, in ink, varying 2 to 4 pages in length. Addressed to various family members, w/two envelopes addressed to his wife, “Mrs. Elizabeth A. Morgan/ Lynn/ Mass.” All letters exhibit slight yellowing, and fold-lines. Else VG and entirely legible.

William F. Morgan was a 33 year old mariner who mustered as private into Co. “C”, 2nd Mass. Infy, 8/15/1862. He was wounded at Gettysburg, 7/3/1863, and promoted Corporal, and later to Sergeant 12/22/1863. He re-enlisted 12/31/1863 and mustered out, 7/14/1865. His unit, the 2nd Mass. Was organized in May 1861, and assigned to the 5th AC and then to the 12th Corps while serving in the eastern theater through autumn 1863. With the newly amalgamated the 20th Corps (comprising the11th & 12 Corps of the Army of the Potomac) the unit was transferred to the western theatre, serving with Sherman’s army through the end of the war. During service it participated in the Battles of Cedar Creek, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, plus the Atlanta campaign, the march to the sea and through the Carolinas. Following the final Grand Review, it was mustered out in Boston, 7/26/1865. The regiment lost 190 men killed or mortally wounded and 98 by disease for a total of 288.

Sergeant Morgan was a highly literate soldier with a noticing eye. His letters are rich in detail, of both camp and battle, and reveal him as a conscientious soldier, husband and battle. With an ironic and cheerful sense of humor.

Excerpts:

In camp near Sharpsburg, 11/8/1862—“we have been on picket every third day, and at work on our house the rest of the time, which we have finished and find quite comfortable these cold days and night and I assure you it is cold..”

“I feel the want of a pair of boots and my undershirts as much as anything. The boots especially as my shoes are nearly through on the bottoms…(to daughter Clara)…I want you to be a good girl and help your mother all you can. You can send my suspenders by mail when you get them done and I will send you some pictures as soon as I can find time to draw them…we had a snow storm with very cold weather Friday and the canal and some parts of the river is frozen over…but we have no skates so you see we can’t use the ice even if I had time…I’m your father, Wm. F. Morgan.”

In camp near Stafford Court House, 5/9/1863.

“We arrived back again to this place yesterday morning. That is what is left of us.I am well and come out of three days fight with but one little scratch on the wrist, and these bullet holes through my clothes…We lost very heavy though. One hundred seventy six killed, wounded and missing. Billy Mudge was killed in our company. Jim was knocked down and scared a little by a Minnie ball, but is well and with the Regt. now.”

“We are having an addition to our uniform, a red star on the top of the cap. We wear them alike, officers and men and they off the Reg. very much. Every division of our Corps has a different color, 1st red, 2nd white and 3rd blue. One of Hooker’s ideas.”

“I got a letter from you written Sunday, when you was writing that letter I was into it up to the knees, all Saturday and Sunday.”

In camp at Estelle Springs, Middle Tennessee Dec. 22nd, 1863.

“Capt. Brown appointed me a sergeant this morning…put up at the Soldier’s home, sustained and organized by the U.S. Sanitary Commission…We stopped to rest two days in Cincinnati and had a grand chance to see all worth seeing, and Wednesday at 3 pm on the Steamer Gen. Buel for Louisville, KY.”

“Give my love to all and kiss all the babies for me.”

In camp, Cassville, GA, 5/21/1864.

“After twenty three days hard marching fifteen of which we have skirmished and fought our way to this place the night before last where our corps has stopped for the present with orders to draw or rather take 20 days rations in the wagons.”

“In Sunday’s fight at Resaca we had 18 wounded and three killed. Murray was struck by a spent ball on the wrist which disable him for the time and John Rowe was wounded twice seriously in the left and was taken prisoner but the Johnny’s left with their wounded when they skedaddled. We had two wounded the day before skirmishing.”

“We have keep them on the run for 15 days and now they are nearly surrounded. Gen. Slocum arrived at Kingston 5 miles from this place yesterday with 40,000 men which must bring our army in this department up to near 200,000 while the Johnny’s can’t raise more than 100,000 and most of the prisoners we have taken are young, well dressed and conscripts. Some say they were conscript for ten days, Joe Johnson telling them that he should us out in that time.
But don’t see it and if he ain’t smart he will find himself in the Atlantic by the last of June.”

This excellent letter grouping is housed in protective sleeves in a handsome white vinyl ring binder, sporting on its cover an equally handsome oval portrait of Sergeant Morgan in post-war civilian clothes, w/his red starred kepi. A superb Gettysburg collectible from a 2nd Mass. soldier wounded near Spangler Spring on the morning of 7/3/1863. Transcription included. Invites further research.  [jp]

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