Confederate Letter Written on Captured Union Stationery with Union Patriotic Envelope – From Soldier in the Virginia Salem Flying Light Artillery – William E. Hubbert Writes his Wounded Friend William McCauley of the 42nd Virginia

If you enjoy history… and historical research that pays off, this letter and cover are for you. What a great pair to display! The letter sheet has at the top an engraving of the battle of Winchester. Our letter writer had picked up this blank letter sheet along with a colorful Union drummer boy envelope in the just completed Gettysburg campaign. WRITTEN ON THE BACK OF THE ENVELOPE “RECD. JULY 5TH, 1863”. Here is the significance:

OUR LETTER WRITER – WILLIAM E. HUBBERT. Try to find him in the Civil War Database… you won’t, not under that spelling (which is the correct spelling). He is listed as William E. Howbert. They give a footnote: Last name also recorded as Howbert, Hubberd, and Hubbert. Guess he didn’t bother to spell his name when the Confederate army recorded it. Anyway, William enlisted as a 17 year old student from Salem, Virginia. He first served in the 9th Virginia Infantry and then transferred to the Salem Flying Light Artillery and served the rest of the war with them. He received a wound at the battle of Chancellorsville on May 3rd, 1863.

THE RECEIPIENT OF OUR LETTER – WILLIAM McCAULEY. McCauley like Hubbert was from Salem, Virginia. He was a member of Company E, 42nd Virginia Infantry.

FUN FACTS – William McCauley had been wounded at the battle of Winchester and Hubbert knew that, so he wrote beneath the engraving of the battle of Winchester on the stationery: “You know well how the above was.”

While the engraving on the stationery shows the March 1862 battle of Winchester (there were probably more battles fought there than any other town in the Confederacy). It is interesting that William Hubbert also writes from Winchester on July 15th, 1863… the fact that he would pick up such “appropriate” stationery at Gettysburg and use it in Winchester!

THE CONTENT – Another great battle had been fought at Winchester on June 13th to 15th, 1863, ending with the Confederacy taking possession of the town. In this letter Hubbert describes this action.

• “Winchester, Va. July 15th 1863. Dear Friend: So I have been on the march for some time. You well can imagine how welcome the few hours rest is 12 at I get today.”

• “Another battle has been fought, another victory won. In the annals of history, the capture of Winchester will make a page of renown.”

• “On the 11th I caught up with the battery, which had already left Culpepper Court House. Some days previous the Corps d’armee of Gen. Ewell (for the army comprises three corps now, Longstreets’, Hills’, and Ewells’), moved from Fredericksburg.”

• “TO AVOID BEING OBSERVED FROM THE ENEMY’S BALLOONS, WHICH ARE ALWAYS IN POSITION in the ethereal domain, the corps headed its way towards Port Royal.”

• “After getting out of sight, the Gen. Ewell turned towards Spotsylvania Court House, and then to Culpepper Court House.”

• “Here the Cavalry Battle took place, and Gen. Ewell waited for the Yankee move in attacking Stuart to develop itself.”

• “Satisfied of no important movement on the part of the enemy on the 11th, he pushed on. The evening of the 3rd day found us at Newtown with Gen. Early, who was expected to make the attack from the front and right.”

• “Gen. Ed Johnston moved up the road towards Winchester, while Gen. Rhodes took the road to Berryville and in Charlestown to Martinsburg. From the movements, the anaconda quickly folded itself around the devoted garrison, and by Sunday evening all the plans were arranged and the signal gun told that the attack was about to commence.”

• “An hour and a half by sun, the first gun from our side had been fired; the enemy had been firing regularly ever since we came. Some firing was done by our men in shelling the woods as we advanced. Further details are unnecessary. Sunday morning the sun arose upon a calm and quiet ground, which the evening before was the scene of contention.”

• “Milroy had left in the night and before dawn ran upon Gen. Rhodes’ Division who opened upon the fugitives ere they were aware of it. Milroy with a small portion of his army, ran through the lines & has so far escaped.”

• “For plunder that fell into our hands, the first battle of Winchester scarcely equalled. No wagons got away and for Sutler Stores, there was no end. We captured a great number of prisoners, and a larger number of horses.”

• “All the artillery that Milroy had, fell into our hands. Gen. Gordon, who, I remark, parripassee, is thought more of by his men than any other officer, although he has lately been assigned to this army, PRESENTS OUR COMPANY WITH A SPLENDID YANKEE RIFLED BATTERY WHICH WAS CAPTURED HERE.”

• “I saw Ch. Rufus & Charlie Bower. They both belong to the 2nd Va. Cay. Mr. Dirhart came through the battle safe. I saw them today.”

• “Gen. Early did the principle fighting in the capture of the city. Gen. Rhodes only fought them when they tried to escape. The citizens praise Gen. Ewell very much for not shelling although the Yankees were stationed in it. THE CITIZENS OLD AND YOUNG THRONGED THE STREET TO WELCOME US IN. William E. Hubbert”

• Upside down on front page: “I have not got time to finish my letter now, and so I send as may not get a chance to send it for some time.” Under picture on front page: “(You know well how the above was.)”

The letter is 4 full pages written in pencil. On the cover, the recipient William McCauley has docketed in ink: “William E. Hubbert, Winchester, Virginia July 15th, 1863, Containing account of battle of Winchester.”

What a great historic letter and cover.

#CG518VA.7-15-63 – Price $695