82nd New York Infantry Letter, Peninsula Campaign – “ONE OR TWO HAS BEEN BROUGHT IN WITH THEIR THROATS CUT FROM EAR TO EAR AND STRIPPED OF CLOTHING.” “THE ENEMY BEFORE LEAVING PLANTED A NUMBER OF TORPEDOES AND TRIED TO DESTROY US IN THAT WAY”
This letter was written by Emmet Irwin. He signs it only Emmet but this came from a grouping of his other letters. The letter is 2 ½ pages in nice clear pencil. Irwin enlisted in New York City into Company C of the 82nd New York. Here is the content:
- In the Advance at West Point, Virginia May 8th, 1862. Dear Mother, I suppose all hands are eagerly watching the papers for the occupation of Richmond, I believe we are the nearest to it of any of the Union troops, the distance from this point being about 30 miles.
- The Division took the transports at Yorktown the 6th inst. and came up the York River to the head of navigation where we landed under the protection of the gunboats.
- I think McClellan’s object is to cut off their retreat to Richmond. They have acted very brutal at this point…
- …SOME OF THE BOYS OF THE 16TH N.Y.V. IN ADVANCING GOT IN A SWAMP UP TO THEIR WAIST AND UPON ASKING FOR QUARTERS ANSWERED, YES YOU D-N S-OF B- (DAMN SON OF A BITCH), WE WILL GIVE YOU QUARTERS AND FIRE A DOZEN TIMES AT THEM…
- …AND ONE OR TWO HAS BEEN BROUGHT IN WITH THEIR THROATS CUT FROM EAR TO EAR AND STRIPPED OF CLOTHING.
- They seemed to have left Yorktown in somewhat of a hurry as some of the refugees that came in that had been to work on the entrenchments, that THEY THREW PROVISIONS AND AMMUNITION IN LARGE QUANTITIES IN THE RIVER TO PREVENT THEM FALLING IN OUR HANDS.
- What do the people now think of McClellan’s tardiness. I think he has won a great victory with a small loss…
- …THE ENEMY BEFORE LEAVING PLANTED A NUMBER OF TORPEDOES AND TRIED TO DESTROY US IN THAT WAY, BUT THEY WERE SOON DISCOVERED AND REMOVED.
- You can see about where we are by looking on the map at the head of the York River where the Pamunkey and Mattaponi Rivers form a junction.
- Please give best respects to all enquiring friends as I remain as ever, Your Affectionate Son, Emmet.
- Tell Mary I should like to hear from her as I have not since leaving home. Direct as before to Washington. Hope that the next may be so that I can say we have entered the Confederate Capital in triumph.
Condition: In order to save paper, Emmet tore off a portion of the second page at the bottom… does not affect content.
Does anyone remember Dave Zullo of Olde Soldier Books? He sold this letter about 20 years ago. He had quite a bookstore!
#L5-8-62NY – Price $175