Autograph Letter Signed from Albert, a Union Soldier, to his sister Ella, New Berne, North Carolina, March 28, 1863

octavo, 4 pages, formerly folded, some minor stains and ink blots, but otherwise in very good legible condition.

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           The writer, Albert, was probably from Massachusetts. Infantry troops from that state took part in the Battle of White Hall, North Carolina in December 1862 and the Battle of Fort Anderson (or Deep Gully) in March 1863. It was common for Union officers to use ex-slaves as servants, but less so for ordinary foot soldiers, as Albert apparently was.

“… We left the next morning … marched about 25 miles the first day and encamped for the night. We remained there most of the next day while the advance proceeded to Trenton and took the place by charging and taking them by surprise. We returned about four o’clock pm when the whole Colume [sic] took a line of March in the direction of Swansboro, the 3d Reg. being in the rear to escort the baggage train, we did not arrive in camp until about 4 o’clock next morning. We did not march at a very rapid pace for the mud in some places was only from one to four feet in depth. I said in some places. I might of said most of the way, for we were 12 hours going only six miles. We were kept warm by digging the baggage wagons out of the mud, I did not exert myself over & above hard in getting them along. I suppose you would say it was something new for me to work hard enough to keep warm, so I think it best for me to tell you at once, that I did not feel any the worse for what I done. Most of the soldiers were loaded down with blankets & provisions to say nothing of the ammunition that they were obliged to carry. I get clear of this to. I suppose you will say it is just like me in doing as I did. I should not tell you at all but I suppose you will hear of it if I don’t write it, so here goes. I got a Negro to carry my blankets & provisions, all I had to load was my ammunition. I found it very convenient, for when I get into camp at night the Darkie would have coffee made for me & my blankets all spread for me to roal into as soon as I had taken supper, next morning he would call me just long enough for me to breakfast with a good supply of hot coffee to wash it down with before starting on another days march. Which was much easier performed than if I had not Sambo to carry my things. The boys laughed at me when we started with a servant, but they changed their tune before the expedition was completed. We was gone 6 days camp, next morning after we arrived in camp the Rebs made an attack on Newberne at three different places, bombarded all that day with but a small loss on either sides. Next morning they made a retreat, two Brigades followed them 25 miles, the third Regt. was in the advance of the troops that chased them but they went so much faster than we could that we did not overtake them. We was gone two days, arrived in camp about dark the second day. Next morning Co A with three other companies was ordered out 10 miles to a place called Deep Gully to do picket duty, remained there 7 days and returned to Newberne. So here we are all ready to start on another march if so ordered…”  [sic]