Barefooted & On His Way to Gettysburg – June 22nd, 1863, Near Hagerstown, Md. McAlpin Bentley Co. F, 38th Georgia Infantry
This 2-page letter written in ink is a classic example of the Confederates need for shoes that they hoped to find in Pennsylvania. This has been a favorite in our collection. Here is the content:
June the 22nd, 1863
Near Hagerstown, Maryland
It is once more I seat myself to drop you all a few lines, to Pa, sisters & brothers. These lines leave all well except Joseph. He is not well. This evening though he has been marching with us all. Today I think it is cold from wading rivers. We waded the Potomac. This morning we all hated to come to this state very bad. I have no news of importance to write you all. I believe I have some news. lam bare footed, and I expect to have to march through this state and on to Pennsylvania, and then maybe back to Virginia before !get any shoes. My shoes give out this morning. This the first day I have been bare footed in a long time. I think it will be a bad march with me tomorrow. My foot is very sore. They have got so tight on the men; they make them go barefooted or sick and make them march in lines all the time. Nothing more for this time. Your most humble son and brother till death.
M. A. Bentley
McAlpin Bentley enlisted on May 10th, 1862 into Company F of the 38th Georgia Infantry. His first battle was Cold Harbor where the 38th suffered great loss following 2nd Manassas and Sharpsburg. The 38th was again hard-hit at Fredericksburg where Bentley was wounded. Later that year he was wounded at the battle of Fredericksburg on December 13th.
The 38th fought hard at Gettysburg on both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd day! Bentley survived, but in the chaos of the battle of the Wilderness, Spotsylvania, and again Cold Harbor Bentley would die on 6/6/64.
Best pre-Gettysburg letter we have had.
#L6-22-63GA – Price $1,395