5th Vermont Battle Letter – Lee’s Mill, Va. – Amos B. Hawley of Co. B – Sends Home a “Secesh Postage Stamp” – Bodies “unburied by the Rebels after being robbed of their clothing and brutally bayoneted and punched with sticks”

This 2 ½ page letter written in ink is headed, “Camp near Williamsburg, Va. May 8th, 1862”. Amos B. Hawley a resident of Montpelier, Vermont is writing home to his wife. The second page of the letter is a half sheet and Amos has attached a defective green 5 cent Jeff Davis stamp at the bottom (but it has a good look to it).

Here is some of the great content:

• “My Dear Wife. I have not received any letter from you for some time as our mails are very irregular now, and it may be some time before you get this. The Rebels have, very unexpectedly to us, evacuated Yorktown, and we have been in pursuit since last Sunday.”


• “The scene inside of the fort was terrible. We could see the effects of our shells on every tree that was within 1/2 mile of their fort, and everything indicated that the place was made too hot for them.”

• “We found the bodies of six of the 3rd Vt. which were left unburied by the Rebels after being robbed of their clothing and brutally bayoneted and punched with sticks. Another instance of the savage brutality of the Rebels.”

• “We followed them up as far as their next fortifications before Williamsburg and camped for the night. The next day was the 5th. It was very rainy and muddy, but our troops made an attack on their forts and carried them after fighting all day.”

• “On the 6th we were engaged in picking up the dead and wounded. I assisted in caring for the Rebel wounded of the 5th N. Carolina Regt. which was entirely cut to pieces.”

• “Not more than 15 escaped. Their Lt. Col and Major was killed and their Col. badly wounded and most of the line officers were killed.”

• “In the barn where the wounded were cared for were 3 Lieutenants and one Captain and 96 Privates, while the field and woods were covered with their dead.”

• “The sight was horrible and I never want to look upon it again. The dead were decently buried, and the wounded well cared for. Our loss in killed and wounded was about 300, while the Rebels lost in killed, wounded and prisoners 4,500.”

• “Our Regiment was not in the engagement but lay back as the reserve. I will send you a piece of the shoulder strap and cap trimmings of a Rebel Lieutenant, Colonel, and a Secesh Postage stamp I found at Lee’s Mills. We have gun boats up the James & York Rivers, and I think the Rebel Army will be captured before many days.”

• “We are now under marching orders, where I cannot tell, but anything in preference to being still. Williamsburg is a village about as large as Burlington, Vt., and the inhabitants mostly remain there, but I am told they are mostly secesh.”

• “I saw one slave this morning that was rejoicing at the prospect of freedom. Please write as often as convenient and send me some postage stamps. Why don’t you send your picture? My love to all. Affectionately Yours, Amos”

Condition: Several ink stains, toning and fold weakness… but a fantastic content letter with a great look to it.

#L725VT.5-8-62 – Price $950

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