Lot 397: Civil War diary kept by a Confederate soldier in the 1st Maryland Infantry, circa June 1862, 24 pages, 4 x 6.5, apparently written by someone with good education, potentially an officer. It can be attributed to the 1st Maryland by the mention of Lt. Rice of Company C and the wounding of the brigade commander Brigadier Arnold Elzey Jones. The journal boasts fascinating battle descriptions comprising the Battle of Gaines Mill and Battle of Savage Station. Several beginning pages seem to be absent as it begins mid-sentence. In part: "So heavy & massive was the fire that the brigade which went in just in front of us seemed to add little or nothing to the volume of musketry…Still we tried to advance but it seemed impossible. The hailstorm of lead and more over powered us. Noticing at this time an unusual commotion around a body, I saw several men bearing what appeared the lifeless body of our General Elzey to the rear…The country is perfectly desolate, no fences, house in ruins. The late camps torn to pieces as they are given up. A horrid picture. The march is very hot and disagreeable. Swarms of flies infest the late camps and the horses are so worried that it is necessary to cover them with tent cloth…Now it is our turn and we start across on the run. The instant the light from the cannon strikes our eye, we fall to the ground as our comrades had done. It was well for us that they fired by battery. Lieut. Rice of Co. C was a short distance before me and once he was too slow in getting down. The cannon ball struck him on the head and threw his body some distance from the path in which we move…Our duty obliged us to pass over a considerable portion of the field, and the sight was one to sicken even a soldier…water was tinged with the blood of the many mangled bodies that lay around in every variety of mutilation. Most of the destruction here seemed to be by the artillery & some of bodies could hardly be recognized as the remains of human beings…We found the body of Lieut. Rice which afforded a fair example of many others…The cannon shot had struck him full on the head & had carried it entirely away…We buried him near the sport where he fell & hastened back to our bivouac." In very good condition, with front cover detached, spine and most pages loose, missing pages at the beginning, and some of the writing light but legible.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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