Confederate Battle Letter: 48th North Carolina Soldier Fights at the Sight of Dunker Church, ANTIETAM Maryland – “THE GROUND WAS BLOODY FROM THE DYING AND WOUNDED SOLDIERS. THERE WERE A GREAT MANY DEAD SOLDIERS A LYING ABOUT, SOME WITH THEIR BRAINS SHOT OUT, I SAW ONE MAN WHO HAD HIS HEAD SHOT OFF, ANOTHER WITH LOWER JAW SHOT OFF…”
This 2-page letter in ink was written by Constantine A. Hege of Company H in the 48th North Carolina Infantry. He is writing his parents just 3 days after the bloodiest one-day battle ever fought on American soil. Hege enlisted at 19-years of age on August 8th, 1862. One month later he found himself in this great battle. The following year, October 14th, 1863, he was captured at the battle of Bristoe Station, Va. and confined in Old Capitol Prison in Washington D.C. until he took the oath of Allegiance in March of 1864.
The letter is written in ink on blue legal-size stationery, 2-pages with full I.D. The letter is in good condition with some staining and has an irregular right edge. Here is the content:
- Near Martens, Va. Sept. the 20th A.D. 1862 Dear Parents: I received a letter from you yesterday morning dated Aug. 30th which gave me very much joy to hear from you. I am well at present and have been well very near all the time with the exception of colds, and boils, but I hope that you are all well at home and do not grieve for me because I believe that the good Lord will preserve my life and health and permit me to return home again in peace and safety.
- I WAS IN A VERY HARD BATTLE LAST WEDNESDAY OVER IN MARYLAND ABOUT 2 OR 3 MILES FROM THE FORD ACROSS THE POTOMAC AT SHEPHERDSTOWN BUT I DO NOT KNOW WHAT THE NAME IS OF THE BATTLE GROUND.
- I CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT FEELINGS I HAD DURING THE BATTLE. WE MARCHED UP RIGHT IN FRONT OF A RANGE OF CANNONS AND MADE A CHARGE ON THE BATTERY, BUT WHEN WE GOT IN ABOUT A HUNDRED YARDS OF THE BATTERY THE BULLETS SHELLS AND SHOT CAME SO HARD FOR US AND KILLED AND WOUNDED SO MANY OF OUR MEN THAT WE WERE OBLIGED TO RETREAT.
- THERE WERE ABOUT 20 MEN OF OUR COMPANY WOUNDED AND JACKSON KOOTZ WAS KILLED AND KINSEY BRYANT DIED FROM A WOUND IN THE STOMACH.
- ON THURSDAY MORNING WE MARCHED OVER A PART OF THE BATTLE GROUND AND THERE I SAW THE HORRORS OF WAR. THE GROUND WAS BLOODY FROM THE DYING AND WOUNDED SOLDIERS.
- THERE WERE A GREAT MANY DEAD SOLDIERS A LYING ABOUT, SOME WITH THEIR BRAINS SHOT OUT, I SAW ONE MAN WHO HAD HIS HEAD SHOT OFF, ANOTHER WITH LOWER JAW SHOT OFF AND …AND THE HORRORS OF THE BATTLE FIELD I CANNOT EXPRESS.
- It is enough to melt the heartiest heart to think of the battle field without seeing it. I have escaped safe thus far by the protection of kind providence and I hope that the Lord will preserve my life and health, permit me to return home again.
- Samuel Davis said that you should tell his parents that he is well and tolerably well satisfied. I hope that you will not think hard of me for not writing sooner, because we have been marching nearly all the time and we cannot send a letter from here, not unless we send it by hand to Richmond.
- So, I must close my letter. I am tolerably well satisfied at present. Please write as soon as you receive this letter, because I want to hear from you very much. Your Affectionate Son, C.A. Hege. Just direct your letters to Richmond Va. In care of Capt. Michael 48 Reg N. C. Troops Company H.
#L9-20-62NC – Price $1,495