PRACTICAL ADVICE FOR SOLDIERS: 1862 INSCRIBED COPY OF ALFRED A. SAWYER, 6th MASSACHUSETTS, FROM HIS YOUNG WIFE

$225.00

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Item Code: 286-804

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This is a very nicely inscribed and documented copy of “Advice for Soldiers,” fully titled, “Take Care of Your Health: Advice for Soldiers,” by W.W. Hall, M.D., published by the American Tract Society in Boston. These small, softbound booklets were immensely popular going-away gifts to departing soldiers from loved ones at home or various charitable societies. This one mixes practical advice for physical comfort and health with spiritual well-being. It is nicely inscribed in period pencil: “Alfred / from / Nellie / 1862,” and then later had its history documented inside the back cover in period ink: “This little book was carried during the War of the Rebellion by Alfred A. Sawyer Co. G 6th Mass Reg.” These don’t come much better documented.  Measures

Sawyer (1840-1917) was a 21 year-old mill hand in Lowell, Mass., when he married Nellie Tolman, then just 16, on 12/3/1860. When the call went out for 300,000 troops for nine-month’s service in August 1862 he enlisted as a private on 8/21/62 and mustered into Co. G of the 6th Massachusetts on 8/31/62. This was the old 6th Mass Volunteer Militia, who had been among the first responders to rush to Washington in 1861 and had fought in the streets of Baltimore to reach the nation’s capital.

This time regiment was assigned to the 7th Corps, and posted at Fortress Monroe, the federal government’s toehold in Virginia, in the Fall and Winter. They then took part in the defense of Suffolk, seeing action and taking losses at Deserted House in January 1863 and Carrsville in May, as well as other losses throughout the siege. They returned to Massachusetts to muster out 6/3/63, having lost 13 officers and men killed or mortally wounded, with others wounded, and 18 fatalities from disease.

Sawyer returned to Lowell and was later a member of Post 185, the Ladd and Whitney Post, named after two of the 6th MVM casualties at Baltimore. He died in September 1917 in Melrose, Mass. Nellie passed away in 1929.

This would make a nice addition to a display of soldiers’ personal effects and has a rather nice romantic association as well.  [sr] [ph:L]

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