Very engaging 28 letter archive by Jacob H. Moseley of the 80th New York Infantry, Co.
A, who writes to his brother Charles. Very patriotic and aggressive -- if not a little bloodthirsty, Jacob Moseley would be promoted to Sergeant by war's end and here writes graphic and riveting battle content. The 80th fought hard throughout the war at Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, much of which is chronicled in this letter lot spanning more than 150 pages, with some letters running 10-15 pages long. The most graphic of the letters is Moseley's direct involvement in the City Point explosion at General Grant's headquarters, as Moseley happened to be in the store house at the time of the explosion. On 10 August 1864 he writes a 12-page letter, A most horrible and heart rendering accident occurred at this place yesterday at 12 M.The entire army of ammunition supply for the army blew up, scattering death and destruction far and near and a store house had just been completed on the wharf about 350 feet long stored full or army supplies, provisions, ammunition and army stores in general. Four boats lying at the wharf discharging all loaded with ammunition and innurence amount in the store house and on the dock, blew up demolishing everything within a mile. My escape and a sergeant and corporal in company with me was most wonderful, as we were all in the store house when the accident occurred. The three of us escaped without serious injury excepting the corporal who was blown at least about 80 feet and escaped with his ankle badly bruised and sprained. I was thrown up about 15 feet and as I came down I saw the whole building falling.
Luckily for me there were 4 cassions (artillery wagons) packed close togeather and as soon as I struck the floor I dodge under the cassions just in time to clear the falling timbers in a few seconds more, the shot shell, grape & canister, muskets, bayonets, and missles, fairly rained down around me, and on the cassions, under which I had presence of mind to crawl. Of all sights I have saw some hard ones, this beat all, Heads, arms, Legs, Bodies, feet, hands, and particles of human Bodies were strewn around, for half a mile. Two Bodies were thrown nearly into our camp full half a mile from the wharf. One of the men of our Regt. Was asleep and a pile of ammunition and all that was found of his body was his head which was blown up into our Hospital.The head was immediately recognized as that of poor Fosters, which was his name. 3 of our men belonging to E. Company were on guard on the barge loaded with ammunition when it blew up. The poor fellows have undoubtedly been blown to atoms, and just likely fell in the river, as nothing has ever been found of them yet. The immence store house was shattered to atoms and immediately took fire and there was still a large pile of shell that had not exploded and the fire was burning all around, luckily there was a fire boat in the stream and in less than ten minutes we got 6 streams of water playing on the ruins, myself and two or three others were the first ones to commence digging the poor victims out of the ruins, while hundreds who stood around could not be got to do a thing, perfectly paralized with fear. While we were liable to blown to atoms any moment by another explosion, I worked about two hours and the perspiration poured off of me. Myself and party succeeded in getting out two alive and eight dead, by this time I had become perfectly exhausted and so over heated that I thought I should drop overWe lost 8 or 10 killed out of the regt and 30 or 40 wounded, 4 wounded out of the companyIt was horrible beyond description" On 17 March 1862 from Upton Hill, Virginia Moseley writes about visiting a southern farmer as well as the First Bull Run battlefield, "One week ago this morning (Monday) we left camp about daylight with three days rations and marched for Centerville expecting to have a glorious time in spilling secesh bloodWe pushed along untill we came within three miles of Centerville when we were halted and pitched tents for the night in the woodshere we remained all night and the boys were exceeding wrath and disappointed in not having a fight after marching 18 long milesTook a long walkand had a chat with the old farmerThe old fellow was overjoyed to see the Union Troops and he told us that the Monday we came there, the Secesh were going to force every able body man around Centerville and Fair Fax into the reble army. He expected the sheriff to come and take him on Monday but he told us he had his gun all ready and made up his mind to shoot the sheriff and die himself before he would be forced into the Rebel ranksThe field around Centervill was almost covered with the carcasses of horses which had been killed or starved to death by the rebels. Every little way on the road you would see a horse whare he had dropped down and died, and sometimes we would know that Mr. Dead horse was close bye, by the smell without seeing him. It seems the rebels were to laizy to bury them and they layed all over the fields and roadsideFriday all who choose were allowed to visit the battle ground of MonassasAll that could be found on any battle field was seen here old cannon shot to pieces and half covered up with bones of horse & once in a while an old cannon wheel and a skeleton were found. We came whare the fight had been more furious and human skulls were rolling over the ground like pumpkins in a corn field. This was the position the 14Regt. Occupied as pieces of their red pants denoted. Some of the bodies were burried in trenches but we could see the bones of the feete sticking through the ground. A number of the 14th boys went to the battle field and burried a great many of the remains of thiere boys who were slaughtered thiere last July. Another sight was the remains of the famous black horse cavalry you might have piled the bones up" In a letter from the summer of 1862, Moseley writes about the Battle of Cedar Mountain and helping with the wounded, "Our brigade arrived on Monday night at 12 and encamped within two miles of the enemy.
They had their position layed out and was assigned the attacking brigade expecting to renew the battle of Sloughters Hill on Tuesday morning but morning came and the Rebels had stolen off in the night and retreated acrost the Rapidan RiverI had an opportunity of seeing all the wounded soldiers in the battle of Sloughter's Hill. They were shot and wounded in all kinds of shapes. I arrived at Culpepper just as the first train was being loaded with the wounded. Every other house in Culpepper was taken up as a temporary hospital.In one building the surgeons were very busy amputating limbs, it looked worse than any sloughter house I ever saw. I witnessed the amputation of two left legs just below the knee. It was horrible to see the poor fellows writhing with agony, but most all of the wounded took it very cooly and talked and joked about the fight which was a stubborn one for the number we had engaged. Encamped on the battle field at the foot of Sloughter's Hill. The Rebels had a splendid position and our men could not touch them without coming out in the open fields when the Rebel batteries and Regts could pour in a deadly fire" On 10 June 1864, he writes about trench warfare at Cold Harbor, "The boys of the front are haveing fine funn, laying in the entrenchments with sand and dust from 3 to 6 inches dep and hot enough to roast potatoes in the sun.
Every head that is raised over the Brestworks is pretty sure to get bored, with a Minnie Ball. Yesterday I was out to the front 98 Regt. Has been under fire for 8 days, and they have to'lay low' most of the time in the Rifle Pitts, for as soon as a man is exposed to view a dozen Rifles is discharged at him at once. Occasionally a solid shot or shell would whistle over us and some would burry themselves in the earth works that protected us. One solid shot came crashing through the Brestworks a short distance below us, and cut two men in two, just as easy as a Dutchman can bite off the end of a Bologna Sausage.
That were all the casualties of the regt during the day but they had lost altogeather 108 men in the seigeI think we will yet have some of the'nasty work' to do" Other interesting content includes description of a skirmish on 12 November 1863, "on Monday the 12th we were routed out at 3 o'clock and ordered to pack up. By this time it was dark, and the Rebs after firing one volley skedaddled like the devil. Were hurt but 5 of our cavalry who were sent out after the Rebels were shot. The next morning we were on the move at daylight and marched 23 miles and encamped at 5 o'clock at Fair Fax Station.We had just got our supper ready when the word came that the Rebels had cut off one of our wagon trains, so we fell in and went back three miles and a half on double quick, but found it all false" On 19 August 1863, Moseley writes about the New York Draft Riots, where he muses he'd like to "take every rioter and hang him on the spot. He writes in detail: there are not over 50 men left in the regiment who came out with us at the start. At the Battle of Gettysburg our regt.
Went into battle with 350 men and came out with only 60 men and 7 line officers. But I expect that it will soon be filled up with conscriptsI have read the correspondence between Gov. And the manner the troops were used and I say if the loyal citizens and militia of N.
City are afraid to encounter such a mob, then let the mob go in and take possession. A commander of a military company who ordered blank cartrages to be fired in such a low lined mob had ought to be licked by them and blank cartrage was fired time after time. It seems to me that there were Military enough in the city at the time to have shot down thousands of rioters if they had been handled right. And then to cap the climax I see that some of the rioters had been tried and sentenced to 1 year in state prision. Some fined 50 or 100 dollars and 6 months in the penitentiary &cIt does seeme to me if the citizens of N.
Were worth one single damnd they would go to the toombstake every rioter and hang him on the spot" On 18 March 1864 he describes almost being killed, "I came very near being killed the other day on board a train. We came off the track, smashed 5 cars all to the devil, killed 1 soldier, wounded 8 or ten, and killed one niggar. This is the third'smash up' I have been in this winterWe are expecting a raid on this station to night. I have just arrested a citizen on the train who has no papers with him and no pass. He gives no account of himself so I snapped the gent up and put him in the guard house with strict orders to keep him all nightI had the pleasure of seeing Lieutenant General U.
Grant as he passed up the road to visit Gen. Meade, smoking his cigar, as usual" On 3 April , he describes listening to a speech by Andrew Johnson as then Military Governor of Tennessee, who recommends "a little healthy hanging. Letter reads in part, On Tuesday afternoon and evening I attended the great Union Mass Meeting in the capital and it was a rouserGovernor Johnson of Tennessee made a rousing speech and the way he poured into the northern peace and compromise men, was a caution. He gave them particular hell. I must let up writing and go and dress a leg" On 27 April 1862 he writes about advances near Fredericksburg, "When our cavalry come within 3 miles of Falmouth, the rebels fired one volley and then run crossing the bridge connecting Falmouth and Fredricksburg as soon as they had crossed the bridge which was all ready coated with tar and &c, was set on fire and before our forces came up the whole bridge was one sheet of flames although we succeeded in saving considerable of the bridge on our shore.
As we marched through Falmouth to camp ground the Rebels set fire to all their military stores in FredricksburgWe have got two bridges built acrost the river, one is built of canal boats anchored close together and planked over which makes a verry substantial bridge of it. But what astonished the natives the most was the pontoon bridge which was thrown acrost the river in a few hours. There was a great many citizens on the shore looking at the men while they were putting the bridge togeather and they could not conceive what in the world the'Damn Yankees' were doing untill the bridge was stretched from shore to shore" With much more interesting content in every letter, Moseley writes about skirmishes (including an escape from Rebel fortified woods in the middle of the night), pickets getting shot ("just enough on picket to make it exciting"), lengthy opinions on the Trent Affair ("the American Eagle has been made to'Cower before the British Lyon' for the first time"), using new rifles so "we can deal death and destruction at a very long range", a funny description of President Lincoln ("he was covered with dust, shirt collar all mussed and as he took of his hat his hair seemed to stick seven ways from Sunday, but as he smiled as he rode by us he was the best looking man in the whole party) and details about about troop strength and battle movements.
He gives his opinion in length about the Seven Days Battles and his contempt for the base traitor Gen. McDowell", as well as grieving the loss of his brother Frank, vowing "I hope I will be able to get a chance for some revenge yet, for I think I have now a personal revenge to satisfy.
He writes a funny letter New Year's Eve 1861 about dancing with females, who are "distinguished from the males, by a frying pan around their neck". Overall an exceptional lot from one of the bravest, interesting and clear-eyed soldiers we've come across. Moseley would muster out after 3 years in September 1864, becoming a dentist in civilian life.Approximately half the letters have original transmittal envelopes. All are in very good condition, with near complete transcriptions. The item "80th New York Infantry, Co.
A 28 Civil War Letter Lot" is in sale since Thursday, March 29, 2018. This item is in the category "Collectibles\Militaria\Civil War (1861-65)\Original Period Items\Correspondence, Mail". The seller is "n8sautographs" and is located in Los Angeles, California. This item can be shipped worldwide.