LETTER GROUPING – PAIR OF BROTHERS WHO SERVED IN CO. G, 142ND PENNSYLVANIA INFANTRY: CORPORAL JAMES D. CONNELLY, KILLED IN ACTION AT GETTYSBURG, AND PHILLIP D. CONNELLY

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Consists of six letters written by the Connelly brothers to their parents, five by James and one by Philip—including a copy of a transcript of Philip’s letter informing his parents of James’ death at Gettysburg (dated July 8, 1863). All letters accompanied by covers addressed to Martin’s Creek, North Hampton County PA. (none with stamps, two with 3 cents postage due). All letters in ink on unlined paper, 7.5” x 4.5. Two are lightly faded while remaining entirely legible—w/transcripts accompanying all. Enclosed in handsome grey plastic folder, w/all letters in protective sleeves. Accompanied by online research info.

James Connelly was 19 years old when he enlisted as a Private on 8/18/62 at Stroudsburg, PA. He was mustered into “G” Co., 142nd PA, 8/31/1862. He was promoted to Corporal, 5/25/1863, and was killed on 7/1/1863, at Gettysburg. No record of burial place could be found. His name appears on the Pennsylvania Monument at Gettysburg, with an asterisk indicating that he was killed in action.

Born in 1846 in Monroe County, PA, Philip Connelly was mustered as a Private into “G” Co., 142nd PA Infantry, 8/31/1862. He deserted August 28, 1863. He died on July 1, 1938 at the age of 92, and is buried in Church Hill Cemetery in Mount Bethel, Northampton County, PA.

The 142nd PA was initially attached to the Union Corps, through the Battle of Gettysburg, and was later attached to the 5th Corps. It was engaged and Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, and in Grant’s 1864 “Overland” Campaign—The Wilderness, Cold Harbor, etc. It later was engaged at Wilmington, NC, and participated in the Appomattox Campaign. During service it lost 140 men killed and mortally wounded for at total of 221. With 809 total casualties , it had the highest percentage of casualties in the Union Army.

Information it's actions at Gettysburg from the regimental monument located on Reynolds Avenue on the 1st Day's battlefield:

July 1 a.m. Marched from Emmitsburg reaching the field via Willoughby Run. Formed line facing northward. Occupied this position. Charged to support artillery. Reformed here and engaged a Brigade composed of the 11, 26 , 47, and 52 N.C. Infantry. In the  afternoon outflanked and retired firing to a position near the Seminary. Here engaged a Brigade composed of the 1, 12, 13, and 14 S.C. Infantry. After a gallant fight again outflanked &  retired to Cemetery Hill.
July 2. In position at Cemetery Hill.
July 3. Moved half a mile to the left and exposed to the artillery fire of the enemy.

Present at Gettysburg 336 officers and men.
Killed & died of wounds 4 officers 27 men
Wounded 10 officers 100 men
Captured or missing 2 officers 68 men
Total loss 211

**

The first letter, from James Connelly to father John Connelly, is dated “Fourt Massachusetts, Sept.  28th 1862.”  2 pp. in ink on unlined paper. Exhibits light fading and slight soiling. Else VG.  In this brief letter, Connelly write in concern that his father received his order for “County bounty” to which Connelly was evidently entitled.

Text:  “Dear Father…I take pen in hand to let you know that we are all well at present and hope that these few lines may find you all in the same state of helth.

I heer that you did not get that order that I sent to you for that County bounty, so I send you a nother one so you can collect it.

No more this time, so I close by saying good by, write soon and let me no wether you got this order and wether they cashed it. No more.

John Connelly / James Connelly.

I received you leter. I had this leter rote before the male cum in, so I let you no that I recived you leter, and of with much gladness wee was glad to her from you and to no that you are all well. / Right soon / No more this time Pa.”

The second letter, from Philip Connelly to Mrs. Maria Connelly, is dated “Washington, Jan the 10th /63”. 3 pp. ink on unlined paper. Exhibits fold-marks &  slight patches of soiling. Else VG.

Given its mention of shin plasters and his absence from his regiment, Philip Connelly seems to be writing from a Washington hospital. His main concern seems to be the letters he’s receiving and the package that never arrived. By the time of writing his regiment had been through the  Battle of Fredericksburg.

Text: “I just received a letter from you dated the 8 with 25 cts. In it and a paper of tabaco and some postage stamps butt a very small letter in it, butt stil better than none, and I will tell you that I have recived (t)hem letters that you wrote some time ago and one shinplaster of 25 ct, but that did not do me no great deal of good, for I would not pass it. But I did not get that package that you sent me. It cam through safe, but they did not spell my name rite on the post list and it laid their in the office so long that they thought that I had gon off and they opened it and destroyed it, but I got the letters.

They are seanding the sick and wounded from Pa to phildelpia and it ma) be that I can get to come their, so you need not be in sutch a hurry a bout writing to me. If I do not write in about 5 or 6 days, while then, you can write here again. As fore the money that james sent me, I did not get (it). He sent the money with an other pursen and he kept it and gave me the letter. I got a letter from Jim and he wanted to no wether I got it, but I have not got it yet, but I can get it when I go back to the regement.

I have received 2 letters, one from Call and one from Miriam, and I was glad to hear from them. Tell Miriam that I will wirte to hur as soon as I can, but I have so many to write to that wrote before she did that I can’t anser hurs yet, but will in a few days. I think htat till the time that I write to her, I will no wether I will get to go to phila. Pa ore not.

I am getting a long as well as can be expected and jim was well when he wrote, so no more, Dear mother.

The third letter, from James Connelly to his mother, is dated “February the 4th, 1863.” 2 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks &  slight chipping of right margin.  Else VG.

Text:  “Dear Mother…I seat myself this morning to let you no how I am getting a long. I have abin sick a bout too weeks, but am well now. But have not yet got the box, I think that is is time that it is here. I was to the Provo marshieals to look fore it, but it was not to be found, so I think I will got the landing to morrow and se if it is not there. I be gin to have some apatite now. If it Don’t not get here soon, I will send the receipt home and can get pay four it.

We get Pay for one month and ten Days and I will send you two Dollasres this time and some next time so that if it gets robed, the los won’t be so much. I want to send you about dollars, that is verry near all I got.

I have not hurd from Phillip in a long time. I can’t tell where he has got to that he Don’t write. If you here from him, I wish you would let me no where he is, that I could write, and I will inclose you two Dollars this time and more the next. Josiah sent Harret 15 Dollars the second.

Write soon. The weather is cold to Day.  / Your son, James Connelly / don’t neglect to write / J.C. Connolly.

Note—Harriet Connolly (Sister) 1835-1928—married Josiah Heckman, Co. C—142nd PA Infy.

The Fourth letter, from James Connelly to his mother, is dated “March 6th / 63.”  2 pp. in ink on unlined paper, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks, light fading and yellowing while remaining entirely legible. Else VG.

In this letter, writes that his regiment is moving to Baltimore railroad guard duty, that Rebel Vicksburg, MS, is a strategic point, and that he has no news of his brother Philip, presumably still in the hospital.

Text: “Dear Mother…I received you letter the 4(th) and had no Oupertunity of answering it Till this time, so I will take a rainey day fore it. It is raining now and is cold.

Our Colonel says that wee will go back to baltimor to quard the rail rode. The Papers stated that we had Vixburg, if that is so, I think the war is nere the End. The rebel Papers stated if they lost Vixburg they would have to gwive up, and I hope that may be the case.

I was on quard last nite and so I feal sleapy, so I Can’t write much  this time. I will send miriams likeness home since it got broke. I have not hurd from Phillip in a few days. We are well here and have Plenty to Eat, so I will close for this time / From Your Son / J.C. Connelly / Write soone”

The fifth letter, written to “Dear Parents”, is dated “June the 10th / Camp of the 14 [2] P.V. / Neer white oak Church.” 2 pp. in ink unlined paper, 5” x 8. Exhibits fold-marks. Else VG.

By this date the Regiment was caught in a state of flux as the Army of the Potomac began gearing up to follow the  began gearing up to follow  Gen. Lee’s ANV into Pennsylvania. The 142nd Infantry was part of a Pennsylvania Brigade commanded by Brig. Gen. James Rowley (later by Col. Biddle), comprised by the 121st, 142nd and 151st regiments, later joined by the 80th New York.

Text: “Dear Parents…I take the present opertunity of droping you a few lines to let yo no how we are getting a long. We are well and in good cheere ans still in the old camp where we do a great deal of picketing, and we get to talk with the grey backs. We here cannonading all moste every day here, but I don’t think they do much.

Some say that we are a going to Washington, but I do not beleave we will, that is to good a place for us, and I do not no much too write this time, so I will close.  / From you Affectionate son, J. Connelly / Tell Pape I Expressed the Twenty Dollars to Stroudsburg, fifteen is mine and five is Phillips. / Write soon.”

The sixth letter, from Connelly to his parents, is date June the 20 /63, as Rowley’s Brigade, the first Brigade of the Third Division, Union First Corps, the lead Corps in pursuit of Lee.

Text: “Dear Parents…I received a few lines from you this morning, was very glade to here from you, to here that you where all well. Yours found us well.

We have bin marching nearly all the time for the last ten days and the whether was very warm and the dust flew so thick that you  could  cut it with a knife, but Josiah and Phillip and I stood the march very well, but were glad to stop at night. Ther is very heavy cannonading to day west of our camp. I suppose the rebs are trying to get back to Verginia.

Father wished me to let him no how the crops are here, so I must let him no a bout it. I have seen but one field of weet in our march. Grain crops look very poore here. And you wanted to know wether I had got any letters from grantom Ketsledge, I have not, I should like to heare frome him. This is a bout all at Presant.

Hoping this may find you all well. I have mot much to write this time so I will close and write more next time. Write soon.

Write soon, from you affectionate sone, James Connelly.”

On the afternoon of July 1st Connelly’s 142nd would find itself fighting to the West of Gettysburg on McPherson’s Ridge, posted to the left of the Iron Brigade, a position from which it would take a battering,  and the position at which James Connolly would be killed in action, though his brother Phillip, also of Company “G” would survive. After its retreat through town to Cemetery hill, the Rowley /Biddle Brigade could muster only 390 of the 1361 it had taken into battle.

On July 8th Phillip Connelly wrote the following letter informing his parents of his brother James’ death, currently in possession of the North Hampton County, PA, Museum. Transcript text as follows:

Gettysburg / July the 8th

Dearest father and mother I take the first opportunity of informing you that we had a hard fight at Gettysburg and I beg you not to take the ______for the loss of your son. I have the afful statement to make in this letter and that is that James Connelly was killed he was killed on July the first. He died very easy I suppose it was Gods will he all ways judges for the best and I think that he has gon happy. I could not get back on the batel grounds to get him or else I would have sent him home. We have but once to die and when the Lord call we mus go to our long home in heaven. I have but one thing to comfort me that I hope he died happy and had not to suffer as some poor fellows had to and I turst to God that he rest now in the Kingdom of heaven and has to no longer suffer the hardships of a soldiers life. It is hard loose a neer and dear freind but one cannot expect always be together. We must part onst and when our turn comes we must take it with the rest. We have but one thing to trust in god and we will be saved. My dearest and dearest parents I will let you know that Josian and me is yet saved and trust to God that our cruel war will soon be over. I will close hoping to meet you all sune again if not on erth we may in heaven.

Goodbye dear parents / from you son / Phillip D. Connelly

Do not forget to write soon for I am anctious to here from you all. I will let you no that there is four at our company left yet that was in the fight and the rebs have left again.”

Phillip Connelly deserted, August 28th, 1863.

A fine and poignant letter group from a pair of 142 PA Infy brothers who went through the hell of the McPherson Ridge fight at Gettysburg, one being killed in action, the other surviving long enough to desert. [JP/ld][ph:L]

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