Wonderful Letter from the Man who was Killed on the Very Day of Surrender at Appomattox Court House, April 9th, 1864 – Hiram Clark, Co. G, 185th New York Infantry
Offered is a 3-page letter in ink along with its original 5th Corps patriotic envelope and a “souvenir”: some raw cotton. This letter was purchased by us from a wonderful Civil War postal history collection many years ago. We include the original “presentation” write-up. The cover shows the red 1st Division flag of the 5th Corps. Hiram has written on it “Head Quarters” and “A. Potomac Artillery”.
Hiram Clark enlisted on September 2nd, 1864 at Marathon, New York as a 1st Lieutenant in Co. G of the 185th New York Infantry. The 185th was one of two regiments making up Joshua Chamberlain’s brigade within the 5th Corps. One of artist Don Troiani’s famous paintings shows Chamberlain with his men facing John B. Gordon’s men at the surrender. We are including an article we found on the internet specifically talking about the death of Hiram Clark at Appomattox.
Within the Appomattox Court House National Historic Park there is a house referred to as the “Peers House”. Quoting from their website, “The Confederate soldiers marched past the house on the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road to go into battle on April 9, 1865. This is where they stacked their arms on April 12, 1865. One of the last artillery shots fired by the Confederate Northern Virginia killed Lieutenant Hiram Clark of the 185th New York Infantry near the Peers house on the morning of April 9th, 1865.”
Hiram Clark did not enlist until quite late in the war. The U. S. Government was pushing to make the final assault on the Confederacy. Their General was U. S. Grant and leading the 5th Corps was Gettysburg’s hero Joshua Chamberlain. Here is the content:
- In Camp Near Petersburg Oct. 25th /64. Dear Friend, I received your letter of the 19th this morning, and I must say it was very welcomed. I thank you very much for being so prompt in answering my letter for they are a great source of pleasure to me.
- YOU STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHO I SHOULD VOTE FOR. I HOPE YOU WOULDN’T THINK THAT I WOULD ENLIST TO FACE THE THUNDERING CANNON OF THE ENEMY AND THEN VOTE FOR A MAN WHOSE NAME SCARES AND RACES THROUGH THE REBEL CAMP AS THE ONLY HOPE OF THEIR SINCERE PEACE.
- I ENLISTED TO HELP RESTORE THE SACRED TRUST WHICH OUR FOREFATHERS HAVE HANDED DOWN TO US FROM THE FOUNDATION OF OUR GOVERNMENT, AND NEVER WILL I TURN MY BACK TO REGARD A CAUSE NOR LAY DOWN MY ARMS UNTIL REBELLION IS CONQUERED AND UNIVERSAL LIBERTY SHALL BE RETURNED TO THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.
- I am not on drill this afternoon, and I had just as ever write as not, if I could. We have voted here some time ago. UNCLE ABE WILL WIN THE DAY HERE BY A LARGE MAJORITY.
- My brother has just come to see me from his camp, and I must hasten and finish this letter so to visit with him.
- I write some half dozen letters every day, so you see that I have plenty of correspondents. Every morning I get two or three letters, and it makes it very pleasant indeed. I enjoy writing very much, or at least I should if I could write. But I must do the best that I can, and my friends must excuse the rest.
- I wrote a letter yesterday, but I suppose you want examples if I write this. The Rebs took one of our Lieutenants prisoner yesterday, but he was disobeying the orders of the General by crossing the picket lines, and it was good enough for him. There was two Privates taken with him.
- My brother wants me to write you that he expects to be in battle before tomorrow night. We shall be kept for a reserve most likely. You must write often and oblige your ever true. Hiram Clark
- On reverse: I will send you some cotton raw. Hiram
Included in the letter are a number of little raw cotton seeds which display nicely since the line “I will send… etc.” is on the last page by itself. Be sure to read the article we included from the website Emerging Civil War.
Some staining, otherwise fine. A great display piece and perhaps the finest example of the cruel fate of war.
#L10-25-64NY – Price $2,500