UNION SOLDIER LETTER — PRIVATE WILLIAM H. BORDEN, JR., CO. “B”, 115TH NEW YORK INFANTRY

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Dated “Camp near Bermuda Hundred / May the 25th / ’64.” Addressed to—"Friend Fannie”. Four pages in ink on lined paper, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks, else VG.

Nineteen year-old William H. Borden, Jr. mustered as a private into Co. “B”, 115th New York Infantry, 8/13/1862. He was listed as a POW, 9/15/1862, Harper’s Ferry, and paroled the next day, and eventually mustered out with his regiment, 6/17/1865.

After their capture at Harper’s Ferry, during the Antietam Campaign, which occurred only a month after entering service, the 115th New York was paroled to Camp Douglas. Re-entering service in November 1862, they were dispatched to the southeastern theater, to the Carolinas and Florida. In the summer o 1864 they were returned to Virginia, attached to the Army of the James, and engaged at Bermuda Hundred and Cold Harbor, taking part in the occupation of Wilmington, before joined in the Carolinas campaign and the occupation of Raleigh, and were present at the Bennett House for Joe Johnston’s surrender to General Sherman. During service the unit lost 135 killed and mortally wounded and 188 by disease for a total of 323.

In this letter young  Pvt. Orden writes of heavy fighting at Bermuda Hundred. Text:

“I now sit down on the  ground to let you know that I am one of what is left after so long and heard Campaign. And it is not over with yet but yesterday and to day so far it has been very quiet. For around the 7th of May up to this time it has been some sorrowful times…I suppose you have heard how that your friend Winnie was wounded…He was one of the color gards and they had some pretty warm times and about the time he was wounded I was helping take care of the wounded and before we could get a chance to go whare the regt. was, where Winnie was wounded we was ordered to fall back for our men could not hold the ground that they occupied…when the fell back…I am at the headquarters of our brigade cook and so I am not where they is much danger.  Week ago the last Monday where we lay that morning the rebs sent there shot and shell, one shell kill the mule I had for carrying my grub and came within about ten feet of where I stood. I see it when it was coming and it struck the ground twice before it hit the mule but did not explode or if it had  it would probably have killed all of us that stood around it…All the rest of our boys that is hears is well so far…

“Well if the lord spares my life the time will soon come when I can pop in and see all of my friends again. The talk is that this campaign will closed this war which I hope it will. . Well Fannie you must give my love to all and keep a good share for yourself and write as soon as you git this for I have not heard from you in a long time. So goodbye. This from you affectionate Friend W. H. Borden…

Borden Died in 1920, age 77, and is buried in Arcadia Township Cemetery in Lum, Lapeer County, MI.

Fine letter with strong 1864 Bermuda Hundred battle content, from a young private of the 115th New York. In protective sleeve, accompanied by documentation. [JP/L]  [ph:L]

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