CORPS BADGE DECORATED COVER & LETTER WRITTEN BY MEMBER OF BERDAN’S SHARPSHOOTERS JOHN C. PAGE – MENTIONS SLEEPING UNDER FIRE AT FREDERICKSBURG - LATER WOUNDED IN THE WILDERNESS

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Item Code: 1054-2310

Letter is four full pages written on a 5.00 x 8.00 inch sheet of paper in very legible period ink by John C. Page of Company F, 1st Regiment U. S. Sharpshooters.

Letter is dated “OLD CAMP VIRGINIA MAY 13, 1863” and is addressed to Page’s wife Nancy and children.

Private Page starts the letter by discussing the weather and then talks of being on picket. He explains a little about how the pickets are posted and how the reliefs work and then he displays some esprit de corps when he states “THE REBS ARE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO SHOW THEMSELVES MUCH WHEN WE, THE SHARPSHOOTERS ARE NEAR. WHEN THE INFANTRY ARE ON PICKET THE REBS WILL MAKE A DASH AND SOMETIMES TAKE SOME OF THEM PRISONER, BUT WHEN WE ARE OUT THEY ARE MIGHTY CAREFUL TO KEEP OUT OF SIGHT. SOMETIMES THEY MAKE A MISTAKE AND COME ON US AND WE GIVE THEM HAIL COLUMBA.”

Page next discusses how he has learned to sleep with his accoutrements on and mentions sleeping on the battlefield of Fredericksburg while shells burst around him. He says “I CAN LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND WITH FIXINGS ALL ON AND RIFLE IN ONE HAND AND SLEEP SOUNDER THAN I HAVE SLEPT BEFORE FOR MANY YEARS…” “THE THIRD NIGHT OF THE BATTLE OF FREDERICKSBURG, THE REBS WERE SHELLING US UNTIL ABOUT MIDNIGHT AND OUR BATTERIES WERE REPLYING IN EARNEST. THESE SHELLS ARE VERY NOISY THINGS, BESIDES SOMEWHAT DANGEROUS. SOMETIMES THEY WILL SCREAM WHEN THEY ARE GOING THROUGH THE AIR SO THEY CAN BE HEARD SEVERAL MILES. THEN WHEN THEY BURST IT IS ABOUT LIKE BLASTING A ROCK WITH A TREMENDOUS CHARGE OF POWDER. WELL ABOUT TEN O’CLOCK THAT NIGHT I LAY DOWN ON THE GROUND AND WENT TO SLEEP AND SLEPT MORE THAN AN HOUR WITH THE SHELLS BURSTING AND PLOWING UP THE EARTH LIKE DEMONS LET LOOSE FROM THE INFERNAL REGION.”

In the rest of the letter Page discusses his health, his concerns for domestic necessities at home, his pay and whether or not he wants his son to work in the local grist mill. He remarks that, “O! I DO WANT TO SEE YOU & THE CHILDREN. I DON’T OFTEN DREAM ANYTHING BUT I DREAMED LAST NIGHT THAT I WAS AT HOME & WHEN I AWOKE I HAD A GOOD CRY ABOUT IT”. In closing Page mentions sending home a ring he made for his daughter Calista and that he is working on one for his son George. Running out of paper he signs it simply “JOHN.”

With the letter is a patriotic cover with a 1st Division 3rd Corps badge in color with a Philadelphia postmark and a canceled 3 cent stamp. The letter is addressed to “MRS. J. C. PAGE, McINDOES FALLS, VERMONT.”

Letter and cover are in excellent condition. Letter has two faint horizontal fold lines. With the items is a typed transcription as well as a printout of John C. Page service information from an internet web site. The printout has the copy of a photo of Page in uniform holding a sharps rifle.

John C. Page was born November 7, 1824. In 1846 he married Nancy Gates and the couple would have four children, Ida, George, Harriet and Calista, all born before the Civil War.

When the Civil War began John Page was a resident of Ryegate, Vermont. He enlisted as a private in Company F, 1st U. S. Sharpshooters on August 14, 1862 and was mustered in the following September 20. While with the 1st Page saw action throughout the Peninsula Campaign, 2nd Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and the Wilderness where he was wounded to an undetermined degree.

On December 23, 1864 Page was transferred to Company E, 2nd U.S. Sharpshooters. He served with that regiment at Hatcher’s Run. Afterward, on February 25, 1865 he was transferred to Company G, 4th Vermont Infantry. While with the 4th Page saw action in the final assault on Petersburg. He was finally mustered out on June 19, 1865.

After the war John Page returned to his wife and family and resided in Orleans County, Vermont where he was an active member of the George. W. Quimby Post #76 of the GAR. At the time of Page’s death on October 25, 1899, Post #76 passed honorable resolutions on Page’s character and had them printed in the local newspaper.

Today the remains of John C. Page can be found in Lakeview Cemetery, Westmore, Vermont.  [ad]

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