JUNE 1861 UNION SOLDIER LETTER - PRIVATE HENRY L. COOLEY, CO. “C”. 2ND VERMONT INFANTRY

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Item Code: 2021-99

Dated “June 25 ’61.” Addressed to “Dear Parents.” 4 pp. in clear pencil on lined paper w/colored patriotic vignette in upper left corner, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks. Else VG.

Henry Cooley was a resident of Brattleboro, Vermont, mustered as a private into Co. “C”, 2nd Vermont Infantry, 6/21/1861, who died of disease, 1/11/ 1863. His 2nd Vermont was mustered in Burlington in June 1861, was engaged at the first Battle of Bull Run and present at nearly all later battles of the Army of the Potomac [including Gettysburg, where it was engaged in repelling Picket’s Charge]. Mustered out July 15, 1865, the 2nd VT lost during service 224 men killed or mortally wounded and 175 by disease for a total of 399.

In this letter, Private Cooley writes of the passage of 2nd Vermont from Washington, and, an adventurous passage it was. As Follows:

“…I thought I would write to let you know where I was. We are in camp half a mile from the capitol on a hill they call Capitol Hill. We started Monday morning. We had supper in Troy {NY}, breakfast and dinner at New York and supper at Philadelphia. We came through Baltimore Wednesday noon. Our guns was loaded. There was armor…We [thought] we should have to fight our way through.

We arrived here Wednesday night and had not slept over one hour since we left Vermont. I was on guard all that night. There was three guards shot on the same guard the night before. Some of the men are out scouting now.

This morning there was three men came most of the way up to our camp asnd fired their guns at us. One bullet just grazed a mans head. There was some men started after them and they have not got back yet. The city is full of troops and the ground is covered with tents for miles around. The bridge and roads are all guarded. We shot at a target the other morning. They said that I made the best shot that was made but one I misst. The outposts on the other side of the river in Virginia were attacked last night in three places. Three companies of flying artillery left here for there in five minutes after we heard of it. There is over 60 companies of flying artillery in this place.

I have got me a large knife and I am going to have a revolver in a day or to. It is beautiful warm here. I must now close. Please write just as you quick as you get this for we expect to leave here in a few days. We don’t know…6 or 8 regiments are coming in every day. Goodbye.”

Superb rendering of the passage of the 2nd Vermont to Washington at the beginning of the war. In protective sleeve.  [JP] [ph:L]

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