UNION SOLDIER LETTER GROUPING WITH ONE COVER - DR. H.H. MUHLENBERG, 42nd PA “GETTYSBURG EMERGENCY” MILITIA REGT.

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Item Code: 2020-643

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Dated from Hagerstown, Maryland between July 17-28, 1863, these ten letters from Dr. Muhlenberg addressed to his wife Kate in Reading, PA., during Muhlenberg’s service with the PA Militia, in defense of Harrisburg in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg. These detailed letters—54 pages in all—are written in clean, sharp pencil on unlined paper, 5 x 8”. They exhibit fold-marks, else VG.

Muhlenberg describes Camp life, long marches, the recurrence of diarrhea among men and officers, news and rumors of Lee’s army and Meade’s post-Gettysburg movements, the finding of rebel “souvenirs, and explorations of abandoned Rebel positions en route to Williamsport.

He writes of militia soldiers who refused to cross the Pennsylvania state line into Maryland, but were shamed by their compatriots into doing so. Upon receiving word that he is to be detached from this company and sent home (July 26), he refuses to go while in good health, writing his wife that—

…“I consider it dishonorable to leave the Company so long as I retain good health. I came with the Company & I would like to return with it. Besides, my opinion is, as I have already told you, that the crisis [Gettysburg] is over, at which we might have been useful, that therefore it cannot be long before we will be honorably discharged & sent home. I hope this decision will meet your approval as it is made , not from want of love to & the children, or desire to see you as soon as possible, but rather from a delicate sense of honor, & a desire to that nothing may be ever said of me that might hurt your feelings or make you think less of me than I would always desire.” [In other words, Muhlenberg’s reluctance to leave his company derives from the same sense of honor that prompted Navy flier John McCain to refuse repatriation from the “Hanoi Hilton” prison]

Solid Gettysburg collectible. Provides Excellent picture of camp life among the emergency Pennsylvania Militia during the Gettysburg aftermath. Accompanied by page from an old catalog showing the letter grouping for sale. Invites further research.

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