Autograph Letter Signed, Brooklyn, New York, June 6, 1862, to Annie

octavo, 4 pages, formerly folded, in very good, clean and legible condition.

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A love letter, written by an unidentified correspondent, yet one who was well connected: A close friend of General Oliver O. Howard, and cousin of General Phillip Kearny.


      Thanks his love for her sending her carte-de-visite photograph, and comments on her “Kaligraph” [calligraphy] penmanship, which made her handwriting “look so strange”. Asks if her brother, a soldier, was in the Hanover Court House battle, and was relieved to see that his name was not among the list of wounded and killed.


      “I have written you of my friend, Col. Van Wyck of the 10th Legion – 56th N. Y. V. and M.C. of the 10th Congressional District of New York State. He was wounded slightly however I am grieved most on account Brig. Gen. Howard, my very highly esteemed friend. He was wounded twice in the right arm, not dangerously, it was at first supposed but afterward they were obliged to amputate it. He started for his home in Farmington, Maine under the care of his Brother Lt. Howard, but upon arriving in New York they dared not carry him any farther and he was at the Astor House in a very critical state. I fear he cannot recover, it is a sad sad prospect for his wife and family, his loss will be inestimable in private, public or military life. God grant to spare his life! I do not think so much of the loss of his arm, although of course it is a great loss it will not incapacitate him even for fighting. My cousin Major Gen. Kearny lost his arm in Mexico, he fought in the Italian Campaign as a volunteer for Napoleon and gained for his bravery and intrepidity a decoration of “Legion d’Honneur”, on the breaking out of this war, he returned from Europe, offered his services to the Govt and took the field as General of the New Jersey quota. He was soon raised to rank of Brig. General and now is Major General (after refusing it once). He was distinguished himself already with the aid of only his left arm. As our noble Howard is such another in temperament. I have no doubt if God spares his life and health that again we shall hear of him encouraging by example and voice his men and leading them as before into the thickest of the fight.

           I never think and worry myself as most people about the question as to how can you expect the North and South to live peacefully together again? I can see no reason why they should not for by the time the war is over they will be heartily glad to get rid of secession mis-rule and oppression and will rejoice to enjoy again the rights and privileges of citizens and the great benefits derived therefrom. Oh! I do not apprehend any great difficulty in making everything pleasant …” 


Congressman and General Charles Van Wyck survived the War to be re-elected to Congress, and, after moving to Nebraska, to the US Senate. General Howard did recover from his wounds and went on to fight at Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Chattanooga, though his military acumen in those engagements was called into question. After the War, he headed the corruption-ridden Freedmen’s Bureau and founded Howard University, the best known African American college of the Reconstruction era, and arguably the best known of the present day. General Philip Kearny led his division at the disastrous second Battle of Bull Run, and, after, in retreat, at the battle of Chantilly, where he was killed, less than three months after this admiring letter was written by his kinsman.