• Civil War Letter: 66th Indiana Soldier Writes of Hooker's Defeat, Grant's Success, Democrats Shoot Solders' Homes

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    MILES STANDISH enlisted in the 66th Indiana Infantry on August 19, 1862. Standish died a POW on August 16, 1864, at Andersonville, GA and is buried in the Andersonville National Cemetery. The 66th fought many battles, including the battles of Richmond, Atlanta, Jonesboro, Lovejoy’s Station, New Hope Church, Keenesaw Mountain, Dallas, Resaca, Dallas, Bentonville, and Sherman’s March to the Sea and the Siege of Atlanta.

     

    Offering his superbly detailed Civil War letter, 4 pp, 5 x 8, Corinth, Mississippi, May 27, 1863, to his sister and brother, providing news of General Joseph Hooker’s defeat at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, something Hooker is remembered for. Standish feared that General Ulysses S. Grant might fail at the Siege of Vicksburg. He was wrong, Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate Army back, significantly degrading the ability of the Confederacy to maintain its war effort.  Standish also details a meeting of Democrats at Indianapolis. The New York Times reported on the May 20, 1863, meeting, stating that 40 or 50 people were arrested during the meeting for carrying guns, shouting for Jeff Davis.  A military guard was placed throughout the city, patrolling the streets to prevent disturbances. The meeting spilled over to violence in the city, which Standish discusses in the first part of his letter.  Research included.

     

    “…I am well but I have had the sore eyes for 4 or 5 days…I have had the duty of al soldier all the time …We are drilling about 5 hours a day. We have got no captain yet but I think H.S. McRae [Hamilton S. McRae] will be our captain. He is well qualified for the office, the best in the Co…We seen an account of the Democrat meeting at Indianapolis. I can’t tell what such meetings is for unless they want rites amongst them…I wish they were in the army so we could give them justice. I understand there was a large portion of the attendants of that meeting, as they were leaving, fired from the train at the soldiers’ homes and the train was surrounded and halted and there was quite a number of revolvers taken from the cowardly marauders. Now such work as this is worse than rebels for rebels would very seldom ever do such [things]. Hanging would be too good for such men. They ought to be shot.

     

    “It has been rumored here that Vicksburg is in our possession but that has been the case several times.  We also heard the news that Richmond was taken but that proved to be false. The [news]papers tell such awful tales, never know what to believe.  It is very evident that General Hooker was defeated and probably that maybe the case with Grant at Vicksburg, but I hope not.  If Vicksburg is not ours now it will be I think shortly…I don’t see anything hinder horses bringing a good price. There is enough of them being killed up here…”

     

    A fine Civil War letter. Folds, scattered foxing and ink blotching.  Spelling corrected in transcription for clarity.

     

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