$500 Reward Offered for the 1st Page of this Letter… Or You Can Buy Our 2/3’s of the Letter for $500! – Col. Clark S. Edwards Writes a Graphic Letter at the Battle of Antietam, Sept. 16th-19th, 1862
We purchased the Clark Edward’s letter collection at an auction in Maine many years ago. Unfortunately, the letters were divided up into a number of “bagged” lots. We bought the bags that had the best content letters in them. Unfortunately, the first part of one of Edward’s Antietam letters was missing the first section. The letter was originally probably 8-10 pages long, and we have 6 of the pages. WE DO THINK THAT WE HAVE THE BEST PART OF THE CONTENT. Read on and see what you think. Our part is signed with full I.D.
• Written on the last page: “Sept. 16 & 19, 1862”
• …a charge, but as we had started them with one deadly fire, all that there was wanted was to follow them up which was done in good style. Our Regt. followed them a short distance and then were ordered back. It was then past sunset, and as the smoke settled in the cut of the mountains, it was soon dark, but not till they were completely routed and many prisoners taken.
• Our Division followed them a mile past the Mountain Gap and then come back on the battlefield and rested for the night among the dead and wounded.
• Smith’s Division of our Corps. passed over the mountains in the night and the next day captured a few prisoners that were into the lines without even firing a gun. And that is where Hancock got the praise, but it is stolen glory and will have to be refunded.
• Our loss in this fight was perhaps five hundred that is killed & wounded, while theirs was a thousand at least, besides a large lot of prisoners we took. Their loss in all were more than half the amount we carried into action, and they had a large lot of artillery while we had none.
• BUT AS I WRITE, WE RESTED AMONG THE DEAD AND WOUNDED. IT WAS HEART RENDERING TO HEAR THE MOANS OF THE WOUNDED BUT SUCH IS WAR.
• Monday morning we moved to the height of the pass and rested till Wednesday morning and then started for the next fight. We come on through a little vill called Rohrersville and then on till we reached the field of battle.
• We arrived at twelve at noon and supported one of our battery till five o’clock and then went to the front and remained till five o’clock Thursday p.m. and then were relieved by some of Burnside’s Regt.
• OUR LITTLE REGT. WERE NEARLY WORN OUT AS THEY HAD NO SLEEP AND BUT A FEW HARD BREAD FOR THE THIRTY-SIX HOURS BEFORE.
• We come back to where the battle was fought the morning before and RESTED FOR THE NIGHT. IT WAS ON THE SAME SPOT THAT THE GALLANT OLD HERO MANSFIELD FELL, BUT OUR MEN LAID ON THE GRAVES ALL NIGHT, as we were expecting the battle to be renewed at any time.
• At six o’clock Friday was the time set for our picket line to advance on the whole line, but as it advanced, it found nothing but their dead and wounded as the rascals had left in the night.
• I took my horse and went into their lines or where they held the day before. THERE WERE A STRIP OF FIFTY RODS WIDE THAT OUR FOLKS LOST JUST BEFORE WE REACHED THE BATTLEFIELD. IT WAS TAKEN AND RETAKEN TWICE I THINK. IT WAS PERHAPS A HALF A MILE LONG AND ON THAT LITTLE CUT OF ROAD, THOUSANDS FELL ON BOTH SIDES.
• This was a Friday morning and the fight had taken place here forty eight hours before, but strange as it may appear, thousands of the wounded there a living.
• I SAW AT ONE FATAL SPOT OF A FEW SQUARE RODS MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED OF THE DEAD. MANY A POOR FELLOW LAID ACROSS HIS COMPANION, but I will not try to describe it, as I cannot find words to do it.
• We left that fatal spot at ten o’clock on Friday morning and come on to the river near Shepardtown, but the Rebels were all over or nearby so we captured a few prisoners. We stayed there till Saturday night at twelve and then come to this place, which is about two miles, Williamsport.
• But the Rebels left here before we got onto them. I cannot tell you where our next move will be but presume it will be over the river and perhaps down the Shenandoah Valley.
• Saturday afternoon I went back from our camp to the grave of Lieut. Brown which I found after much trouble, but thinking his folks would send for him, I persevered and found it. He is buried in his blanket and that was all that could be got for him. I done all I could do to have him decently interred. But as my time was taken up in other matters, I could not do what I would like to do. I wrote his Father the spot that held his remains.
• The mail now goes so I must close. My Regards to Family C. S. Edwards. Maria, please give to C. & G. A. Mason. I have no envelope, only some I had backed to you.
#L757 – Price $500