Important 4 Page Letter from Major Charles Porter Mattocks, 17th Maine Infantry – GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF THE LAST MAJOR BATTLE IN THE CIVIL WAR… SAILOR’S CREEK – Captured in the Wilderness & Escaped from Columbia Prison! – RECEIVED THE MEDAL OF HONOR FOR ACTION APRIL 6TH, 1865… OUR LETTER IS DATED APRIL 10TH, 1865!
This 4-page letter in ink comes with its original stamped envelope, orange in color. It is addressed to Mrs. Isaac Dyer in Portland, Maine. Isaac Dyer was Colonel of the 15th Maine Infantry and no doubt Charles was friends with the family. The notation on the left side of the envelope reads, “Near Clover Hills, Appomattox C.H. April 10, 1865 Rec’d April 17th”. Note: When Charles was 10 years old and his father had died, his mother remarried to Isaac Dyer. Now to the letter content:
- Bivouac near Clover Hills Appomattox C. H. Va. Monday, April 10th, 1865.
- My dear Mother: – I PRESUME YOU HAVE ALREADY HEARD THE GLORIOUS NEWS. THE ARMY OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA (REBEL) SURRENDERED TO US YESTERDAY AFTERNOON, JUST AS OUR CORPS WAS ADVANCING TO THE ATTACK ONCE MORE.
- OUR TRIUMPHANT MARCH WAS SUDDENLY CHECKED AMID THE REJOICINGS OF THOUSANDS. THESE LAST TEN DAYS HAVE ALMOST REPAID ME FOR TEN MONTHS OF MISERY.
- AS YOU HAVE PERHAPS ALREADY LEARNED, THE 17TH WAS QUITE HOTLY ENGAGED ON THE 6TH. WE MADE THREE DISTINCT CHARGES, CAPTURED ABOUT 150 PRISONERS, TWO REBEL BATTLE FLAGS, 12 OR 14 REBEL OFFICERS, SOME 40 OR 50 WAGONS, BELONGING TO THE TRAIN CAPTURED BY A SIMULTANEOUS CHARGE OF OUR 1ST & 3RD DIVISIONS.
- I WAS AS USUAL AMONG THE FORTUNATE, ESCAPING WITHOUT A SCRATCH. WE WENT IN WITH 26 OFFICERS AND LOST 5, ONE KILLED AND ONE PROBABLY MORTALLY WOUNDED. COL. HOBSON WAS HIT IN THE FIRST OF THE FIGHT. THE COMMAND DEVOLVED UPON YOUR YOUNG HOPEFUL.
- THE CHARGES WERE REALLY GLORIOUS AND AFFORD AMPLE CHANCES FOR THE AMBITIOUS TO “SHOW THEIR HANDS.” THE REGT. LOST IN ALL 32 ON THE 6TH AND 2 ON THE 7TH.
- WE HAVE BEEN UNDER FIRE SEVERAL DIFFERENT DAYS, BUT HAVE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE. OUR LOSS OF OFFICERS WAS ABOUT 1 IN 5 AND OF MEN, 1 IN 10. SO YOU SEE THE OFFICERS HAD THEIR FULL SHARE OF THE DANGER AS WELL AS GLORY.
- We are now halted and all offensive operations have ceased. I can well imagine how rejoiced you are at the North. I never saw the 17th in so good spirits. WE HAD A RUNNING AND MOST SUCCESSFUL FIGHT FOR 5 MILES IN LINE OF BATTLE.
- Our second charge was upon a line of Rebel rifle pits under a very heavy fire. The last charge was upon the Rebel wagon train under a heavy Artillery and musketry fire continued. THE REBS RAN LIKE SHEEP AND MANY WHO WOULD NOT SURRENDER, BUT TRIED TO ESCAPE, WERE SHOT DOWN WITHOUT MERCY.
- FROM THE REBEL WAGON TRAIN WE TOOK MANY CURIOSITIES SUCH AS GENL. LEE’S PRIVATE BAGGAGE, ORDERS, ETC.!
- Hobson is only slightly wounded. I have not had a letter for more than a week. We hear that West is out of service but are uncertain. The Lt. Usher that was killed used to live in Baldwin. He received his wound in attempting to take a Rebel battle flag.
- We conclude that we have fought our last fight and we are glad we had so good success in it. It seems to me that I am bullet proof, although I must confess that I did not lack much of getting hit several times. I was mounted nearly all the time.
- I presume everyone will now regret that they were not in at the “wake.” Now do you think I was foolish to hurry away? I would not have missed these ten days for all the world.
- The papers will probably give you detailed accounts of all these affairs much better than I can. Let me hear from you often. Houghton can see this letter, but do not let it get into the papers. The mail is expected to go in a day or two. Now get the house! In haste, Your affectionate Son, Charles
For a great capsule of Mattock’s life, just go to Wikipedia… and read the fantastic account of his life. He and his regiment were heroes at Gettysburg… and then the M.O.H. at the battle of Sailor’s Creek.
Letter is in excellent condition. The corner of the last page has a small piece missing… but it was missing when Charles wrote on it (you can tell by where he starts and stops). A wonderful piece for a museum, library or advanced collector.
#L4-10-65ME – Price $1,795