1863 LETTER OF PROMOTION AND COMMENDATION FOR ANDREW BRYANT, 46TH MASSACHUSETTS – RECIPIENT OF MEDAL OF HONOR FOR ACTIONS AT BATCHELDER’S CREEK (NEW BERN, NC)

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ALS.  1 pp. 8” x 10”, in ink. Dated June 2, 1863, New Bern, NC. Letter signed by “W.S. Shurtleff Col 46 Reg M[ass] Vols”, promoting Andrew S. Bryant for his heroic actions at Batchelder’s Creek, for which he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor:

“Sergeant Bryant, For your meritorious service in the late attack on the outpost at Batchelder’s Creek, as well as in consideration of your other faithful service, in the Regt. I take pleasure in transmitting to you a Warrant appointing you Sergeant Major of the Regt in place of Serg. Majr Field, lately transferred to the Heavy Artillery, confident that this mark of appreciation of your service will be an incentive to renewed or rather continued devotion to duty….”.

In early May 1863, companies from the 46th Massachusetts Volunteers were sent to Batchelder’s Creek to serve under Colonel Jones of the 58th Pennsylvania. The area was attached by the Confederates on May 23rd, and Colonel Jones was killed, throwing most of his command into confusion. Captain Tifft with his own company and part of Company I of the Massachusetts troops held an advanced redoubt long after the rest of the Federal soldiers had fallen back some two miles, until finally discovered by a reconnoitering party and relieved. During this time, Sgt. Andrew S. Bryant of Company A was made Sergeant-Major of the regiment and received the Medal of Honor for bravery on this occasion. His citation read in part: “By his courage and judicious disposition of his guard of 16 men, stationed in a small earthwork at the head of the bridge, held in check and repulsed for a half hour a fierce attack of a strong force of the enemy, thus probably saving the city of New Bern from capture.”

Andrew Symmes Bryant was a 21 year old banker when he enlisted as a sergeant at Springfield, MA on 8/15/62. On 9/25/62 he mustered into Co. A, 46th Mass. Promoted to Sergt. Major on 6/1/63. Awarded the MOH for his action on 5/23/63 at New Bern/Batchelder’s Creek. Following the war he was a member of GAR Post #16 in Springfield; he died on 10/6/1931 and is buried in Springfield Cemetery.

The overall condition of the document is fine; there are some purple stains along the left margin that affect little of the writing. A fine and unusual Civil War document.  [ld]

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