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Lot Of 1862 Civil War Officer's Manuscript Letters / Diary- 51st Mass Infantry For Sale

Lot Of 1862 Civil War Officer's Manuscript Letters / Diary- 51st Mass Infantry

Outstanding and original, Lot of 4 VERY LONG and highly detailed, Handwritten Manuscript Civil War Officer's Letters dated between November 25, 1862 and December 21, 1862, detailing the movements of the 51st Massachusetts Infantry Regiment from their embarkation on the Steamer Merrimac to their arrival in New Bern, North Carolina, and their subsequent involvement in the Goldsboro Expedition, including the Battles of Kinston and White Hall.


These fascinating Civil War Officer's letters are written more in the manner of a journal or diary, and there are details relating to events that occurred on nearly every day during the period covered. They are written by 1st Lieutenant Francis Wayland Adams to his sister Elizabeth. Adams states in the Letters that this is "his journal" and asks his sister to "share his journal with everyone". The letters are written on lined paper that measures approximately 8 1/4" x 5". In total the 4 Letters contain an amazing 92 pages in all and provide a highly detailed account of the movements and actions of the 51st Massachusetts written by an intelligent and articulate Regimental Officer. The Letters are loosely bound together by the remnants of period silk ribbons, and are in very good condition overall. The handwriting is neat and quite legible.

the letters is a folder approximately 10 3/4" x 9". The folder contains a transcript of the letters; there are 50 double spaced typewritten pages; on the inside cover is stamped the name Robert W. Adams and the date Oct. 1,1947. A label affixed to the front of the folder reads: "CIVIL WAR LETTERS BY FRANK W. ADAMS TO HIS SISTER ELIZABETH, NOVEMBER 25, 1862 - DECEMBER 21, 1862."


Frank W. Adams begins this month long diary / journal / series of letters by describing his departure from friends in Worcester and his subsequent trip on the Steamer Merrimac. He describes his accommodations - a small state room with 3 bunks, one for the Captain, one for himself, and one for Lieutenant Dodd. He reports that the Captain's boy (with a wooden leg) sleeps on the floor, and that board on the steamer costs $8.00 for the trip. The trip is rough, and there is much seasickness.


The Steamer lays off Beaufort until they can get a pilot, and then lands at Morehead City on the side of Fort Macon. The men then travel by rail to New Bern. Adams describes the camp and his surroundings at length. On December 9th there are orders to move North. Officers prepare their baggage to be loaded on the Schooner Skirmish, which is to meet them.


On December 11th, Adams tells us that he is encamped on Trent Road, about 5 miles from Trenton, and says that he believes that there are over 23,000 men in the expedition. On December 14th Adams says that they are within the limits of Kinston. He describes a roundabout route that they must take in order to avoid various breastworks and rifle pits erected by the Confederate troops. He writes: "Kinston is situated just on the opposite side of the river from the direction we came up and the rebels who had gone over the bridge to give us battle (they) tried to burn it on their retreat. They had poured turpentine over it preparatory to setting it on fire, but our men charged over right at their heels and slew the incendiaries in their act. It is said a piece of shell struck one of them while he was applying the torch, killed him in a thrice, broke the bottle of turpentine and burned him horridly. His body with dozens of others of the rebels was thrown off into the river".


On December 15th Kinston is left behind, and Adams tells us that a battle field is a painful thing to witness just after a conflict. He describes the landscape: trees cut away, branches torn off, the ground ploughed up. "There were quite a number killed and wounded though it is not yet known how great. I saw a row of dead men taken from the place where they fell and laid side by side for internment."


On December 16th, the battle of White Hall commences. "We were halted and ordered to fix bayonets...the next command was for us to lie prone upon the ground. This was to permit the shells to pass over us." / "One of the saddest features was for us to wait there and see the wounded carried to the rear. Some were brought back wounded in the head and the blood was streaming all over their faces, their hats lost, and the hair disheveled and clotted with gore...others were wounded in the hand, side and feet."


On December 17th Adams details marching back and forth to Goldsboro while the burning of the bridges is ongoing, and then the trip back to New Bern. On December 21st he reports being back in camp.


Adams concludes his final letter by saying: "I was disappointed not receiving a letter from Father or Mother. Please tell them again that my letters are a journal and are as much for them as any member of the family. I hope to see them soon. It is almost time for drill, so goodbye until you hear again from your brother ever true. Frank W. Adams".


The 51st Regt. Mass. Vol. Mil. was raised largely in southern Worcester County as a part of Massachusetts’ quota of nine months troops. Its rendezvous was Camp Wool, Worcester, Mass, where the recruits gathered in the early fall of 1862, Col. George H. WARD of the 15th Mass. Regt., who had lost a leg at Ball's Bluff, being commandant of the camp. The companies of the 51st were mustered in between the 25th of September and the 14th of October. A.B.R. SPRAGUE, an officer of the 25th Mass. Inf., was commissioned colonel, and under his command the regiment left Camp Wool, Nov. 25, 1862, proceeding by rail to Boston, where it immediately embarked on the transport "Merrimac" bound for North Carolina. After a rough voyage it reached Beaufort, NC, Nov. 30, proceeding thence by rail to New Bern. Here it was assigned to AMORY's Brigade.


On Dec. 11, the 51st was assigned to the Goldsboro expedition. Proceeding with it as far as Beaver Creek Bridge, it was delayed there to guard the crossing at that important point. Continuing on after the main body on Sunday the 14th, it overtook the column Tuesday the 16th while it was engaged in the battle of Whitehall. During the battle of Goldsboro, Dec. 17, the 51st guarded the wagon train and was not in action. It returned to its barracks on the Trent River near New Bern on Sunday the 21st.


We have been able to ascertain that Francis Wayland Adams was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1840. A brief biography that we discovered in the Amherst College Biographical Record of the Class of 1862 reads:


Adams, Francis Wayland. Son of Daniel E. and Lucy (Hastings), b. Brookfield, Feb 18, 1840. M. A., A. C., 1865; M. D., Harvard, 1868. Delta Kappa Epsilon. Prepared Brookfield. 1st Lieut, 51st Mass. Vols., 1862-63; prin. Lawrence Acad., Falmouth, 1863-65; studied medicine with Dr. J. S. Butler, Hartford, Conn. and at Harvard Med. School; asst. physician Insane Retreat, Hartford, Conn., 1868-69; practiced Royalston, 1869-71; Fishkill-on-the-Hudson, N. Y., 1871-75; Royalston, 1875-. Member Mass. Legislature, 1883."


Further information from The Catalogue Of The Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity (1910) is: 1862 Francis Wayland Adams. Physician. Royalston Mass. AB; AMMD Harvard 1868. 1st Lt. Co. B 51st Mass. Inf. USA Enlisted Oct 20, 1862. Resigned Jan 25, 1863. Prin Acad Falmouth, Mass 1863-65. Asst Phys Insane Retreat Hartford Conn. 1868-69. Physician Royalston, Mass. 1869-71. Fishkill NY 1871-75. Married Fannie Russell Chase Royalston, Mass June 26, 1872. Phys Royalston Mass 1875. Mass Gen Ct House 1883. Town Clk; Town Treas and Trustee of Town Funds.”.


This very rare and fascinating 92 pages of highly detailed, original Civil War Officer’s Manuscript Letters are in very good condition. Each of the Letters are well preserved with some light soiling and 2 light horizontal creases (as sent through the mail). The Letters are VERY loosely bound with two period ribbons that pass through small and neatly punched holes at the spine end of each of the Letters (the ribbons are broken and the Letters are essentially disbound and present as individual correspondences). All of the Letters are written in a very neat and orderly hand and all are VERY easily readable.


Overall this is a very well preserved and fascinating journal / diary style series of Civil War Letters written by 1st Lieutenant Francis Wayland Adams of the 51st Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry and a fantastic addition to any collection!!!

Overseasshippping is extra and cost will be quoted at buyers request. Massachusetts residents must add 6.25% sales tax.

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Important Notes about Shipping Charges:

The amount quoted for Shipping & Handling is calculated by and is equal to the EXACT amount charged by the Post Office plus a $1.00 "packing fee" - the $1.00 fee is our only compensation for the virgin packing materials we use on all of our professionally packaged boxes as well as our cost for the salaried help that does most of our packing - as I am sure you can see, we make NO profit on the Shipping charges and, in fact, our costs are usually greater than the $1.00 fee. Please contact us if there are any issues regarding the cost of shipping.



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Lot Of 1862 Civil War Officer's Manuscript Letters / Diary- 51st Mass Infantry

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Lot Of 1862 Civil War Officer's Manuscript Letters / Diary- 51st Mass Infantry:
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