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Sale 35: The Autumn Sale

Table of Contents

Confederate States: U.S. & C.S.A. Civil War Documents

Lot 2612    

Confederacy, Battle of Secessionville, Patriotic Lettersheet. Multicolor design of Soldier & Flag datelined "James Island, June 29, '62" with wonderful contents regarding the Battle of Secessionville, "…since I got your letter I was well and strong, now I am wounded and unfit for anything…, we had a hard Battle in which our Regt. had to stand the blunt of it, being under fire 2 batterys beside 3 times our number of Infantry. We were under fire for four hours, we lost in 1100 men were killed and wounded. I got a ball in the side, but it is not dangerous.…, I sometimes think that we have got them whipped and then they will brake out in a new place, but we will conquer them or die. A well fought battlefield is an awful thing to look upon with its Dead and dying…, I almost wished that I was among the killed.", Very Fine, a wonderful & historic letter.
Estimate    $200 - 300.

The Battle of Secessionville (or the Battle of James Island) on June 16, 1862, was the defeat of the only Union attempt to capture Charleston, South Carolina, by land during the American Civil War.

In early June 1862, Maj. Gen. David Hunter transported the Union divisions, under the immediate direction of Brig. Gen. Henry Benham, to James Island, where they entrenched at Grimball's Landing near the southern flank of the Confederate defenses. Benham landed 6,500 men on the southeastern end of James Island, and marched toward Charleston. However, Brig. Gen. Nathan "Shanks" Evans, who commanded less than half that number of Confederate forces, met the Northern troops at a fort at Secessionville commanded by Colonel T. G. Lamar and routed them.

The Union suffered 683 casualties (107 dead), compared to 204 (52 dead) by the Confederates. Although the battle was minor, it served as a powerful propaganda victory, increasing morale particularly in Charleston and offsetting recent Confederate losses in the Western Theater.

Benham had acted against orders in attempting to take James Island, and he was subject to a court martial after the loss. The Union would continue to attempt to starve and attack Charleston for the rest of the war, and, had they succeeded, the "Fort Lamar" at Secessionville (which had been named not for the secession of South Carolina, but for an earlier attempt of some plantation owners to rebel) would have controlled the harbor.

Realized: $260

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