F. H. FOSSETT - COLLECTION CIRCA 1863 WITH CIVIL WAR - UNION, AMBROSE CUMMINGS, MRS. E. LYON - HFSID 287762
Sale Price $552.50
CIVIL WAR: UNION - THE SAD STORY OF A VOLUNTEER FROM MAINE
Civil War Archive including: new soldier Ambrose Cummings' letter to his father, describing army life; a letter from a fellow soldier, reporting that Cummings is ill but expected to recover; a letter from a New York undertaker sending Cumming's dad a bill for funeral arrangements; and a telegram from the undertaker: the youth's body is on its way home.
Collection comprised of: 1) Autograph Letter signed "Ambros Commins", 4 pages (integral leaf), 3½x6. East New York, 1862 November 20. In full (spelling errors in original): "Dear Farther, I take this plesant opertunity to rite you a few lines to let you know that I am well with the exception of a boil on my wrist. It berst this morning and it feals sum better. We exchianged guns yesterday. We was armed with the Enfield rifle now. It is a very neat and pretty weapon. I haven't received but one letter from hom. I want you to rite oft times. Dexter Nash had a letter from home and they sed you had received none of my letters. I have written 4 besides this. I send my love to you and mother likewise to brothers and sisters and wood be very happy to hav them to write to me. I had a pass last Friday and went up to Brooklin. From thare I went over to New York. I enjoyed myself very mutch. I think wen I am pade I shel hav sum photergraphs takin and I will send them home. Tel Joel Sidelinger that I herd they was a going to Draft and I hope he will be one of them to go with us. Our first lieutenant has ben sick ever since we hav been here and he tolkes of cumming home now. They was another death this morning in the 24th Regt. Co K he died with the arosiples [?]. The boys ar duing all well here with the Measels. They is 22 sick ones. I have nothing more to rite at presant. Pleas write as soon as you git this from your son". Normal mailing folds. Toned. Bottom corners slightly worn. Otherwise, fine condition. 2) Autograph Letter signed: "F. H. Fossett", 2 pages (integral leaf), 3½x6. East New York, 1863 January 30. To Mr. Ambrose Cummings. In full: "At the request of your son Ambrose I write you a few lines to let you know how he has been getting along. He has been very sick but his health is improving now. His nurse was taken sick last Sunday. Since then I have had the care of him. Since then I am certain he has gained. He can sit up an hour or two every day, and his appetite appears to be better and he is not able to write to you himself. He received your letter this morning, was glad to hear from you. I read it to him. You spoke of coming to see him. I think it would not be worthwhile to come at present, for he is going to be discharged as soon as he is able. He is as comfortable as possible and has as good care as I can take of him. The Doctor told me this morning he was to be discharged as soon as he is able. I think there is nothing in the way but he will get about again. He is weak but he is over with his fever and is certainly better now than he was when I first saw him. You need not fear but you will see him at home some time in the course of two months unless something uncommon takes place with him. He sends his love to his Mother and all his friends. Write to him as often as you can. From his nurse". Normal mailing folds. Lightly creased. Toned. Lightly soiled. Otherwise, fine condition. 3) Document, unsigned, 1 page, 5¼x8½. New York, N.Y., 1863 February 26. Itemized bill from A. J. Case, Undertaker, for preparation of the body of Ambrose Cummings, totaling $25. Principal costs are for a walnut coffin and freight shipment to Augusta, Maine. What appears to be a military discount ("WS off $5") is included. Normal mailing folds. Lightly soiled. Otherwise, fine condition. 4) Autograph Letter signed: "Mrs. E Lyon for E. Lyon", 1 page, 5x8, lined paper. New York, 1863 March 24. To Ambrose Cummings, North Waldoboro, Maine. In full: "The sum of twenty-five dollars in full for Bill of expenses for your son's body returned to you, was duly received by Express for which receive my thanks. Yours truly". Accompanied by original envelope addressed in same hand. Toned, soiled and lightly foxed. Horizontal fold creases. Otherwise, fine condition. Envelope: 5½x3 with top right notched 1x1¼ (removing stamp) and top left missing section. Soiled, stained and creased. 5) Autograph Telegram signed: "Mrs. E. Lyon", 1 page, 5½x8½. New York, 1863 February 27. On letterhead of the American Telegraph Company to Ambrose Cummings. In full: "Body of your son leaves in Steamer to-day. Expenses paid to Augusta." Six horizontal and one vertical fold. Toned. Lightly creased. Otherwise, fine condition. On May 2, 1861, in response to President Lincoln's appeal, the little town of Waldoboro, Maine (population 4,569) declared itself in favor of sustaining the Union, and voted $3,000 for payment of a monthly bonus of $6 to each recruit, and $4 to each recruit's family. The young men of Waldoboro volunteered in several waves between 1861 and 1864, traveling to Augusta to be organized into volunteer regiments. Most famously, Waldoboro and two neighboring towns filled a company within the ranks of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry, immortalized by its heroic stand at Little Round Top, Gettysburg, and in the books and movies Gettysburg and Gods and Generals.Young Ambrose Cummings (b. 1843), the namesake and fifth child of Ambrose Cummings, Sr., joined the ranks the following year, signing 9-month enlistment papers and joining the21st Maine Volunteer Infantryon October 25, 1862. His handwritten account, with its request for more letters from home, is included here. Regrettably, the illness afflicting so many of his comrades soon struck Cummings. The letter from fellow soldier F. H. Fossett describes his condition, and reassures the father that his son is expected to recover. Such was not the case, however. The 21st Maine shipped out for the South in late January, and would soon see action at Port Hudson on the Mississippi. Cummings was not with them. His demise was an all too common occurrence in Civil War armies. By war's end, 172 members of the 21st Maine would die, 27 from combat and 145 from disease!For the armies as a whole - North and South - about twice as many soldiers died of disease as from combat injuries. A modern reader may be even more surprised that the family of a dead soldier wishing the remains returned for burial was expected to pay for this service. Imagine the public outcry if a family were billed for a son or daughter slain in Iraq or Afghanistan! But Mr. Cummings paid the bill promptly. What else could he do? The young soldiers of the 21st Maine were no doubt as patriotic and courageous as those in the celebrated 20th. Perhaps they were as ably led. But the unhappy fate of a soldier felled by disease may be an even more poignant reminder of the human cost of war than a heroic death on the field of battle. Five items.
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