• Illinois Civil War Home Front Letters: Irish Brigade, Battle Of Lexington, Corinth

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    Offering two Illinois Civil War home front letters, concerning the Patton brothers – John, Baptist, Albert, Andrew.  Baptist and Andrew belonged to the 54th Regt. Ill. Vols. The first letter, 4 pp, 7 7/8 x 9 ½, dated October 20, 1861, Pana, Illinois, is unsigned but undoubtedly written by one of the brothers with extraordinary content, speaking, in part about James Mulligan’s 23rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment, also known as the Irish Brigade, and the Battle of Lexington.


     “...We suffered very much uneasiness on account of the dangerous place that Brother Baptist was in at Lexington until we knew that he was safe. He was in the bloody fight at Lexington. His regiment was with Col. Mullins Irish Brigade. They were surrounded by the rebels. Their water and other supplies cut off after a gallant resistance of nine days they were forced to surrender and their ammunition was all gone. They surrendered on the 20 Sept between 3 and 4 pm. They were all taken prisoners but let go on parole of honor. The government forces at Lexington, MO, was 2,700 men and that of the rebels 30,000. Some estimate the rebels force as high as 37,000 men. A number of the boys that left this place was slightly wounded. A ball grazed Baptist’s right cheek. It is well now but a small scar. The rebels took everything from the boys except the clothes on their backs. They got all their...horses, mules, guns...They were all honorably discharged but they do not consider the oath of any consequence and are mostly all going into the service again. Baptist talks of going back in a week or two...His regiment has been for more than three months, marching and camping through parts of Missouri where they have been surrounded by nothing but rebels and traitors. In passing through a small town in MO one of the young men that left here with brother Baptist was shot by the traitor Magoffin, brother to the Governor of KY. The young man’s name was George Glafsgow. Perhaps you have seen an account of it in the papers. He was leading a Company of men through Georgetown, MO, when Magoffin, who hid behind the courthouse shot him. His life was very much mourned...His father started out for his remains as soon as he heard of his death but could not get through there on account of the bridges being burnt and the road torn up...There was a very large funeral procession...Brother John is now living in Quincy in this state. He talks about getting a company and going to war. I rejoice that in that part of the country so many friends and relatives who are thus willing if necessary to fight to bleed and die to preserve our government...but...regret very much that it is necessary for so many of our friends...to be necessitated to engage in bloody conflict with part of our own nation...”


    The second letter from Quincy, IL, Oct. 13th, 1862, is written to Eliza L. Wilson, from John M. Patton. 3 pp, 7 7/8 x 9 ¾.


    “...Military life seems to agree with cousin Baptist. I hope he is still enjoying good health...Brother Baptist and Andrew are still in the Army. They belong to the 54th Regt. Ills. Vols. The last word I had from them were they were at Union City, Tenn. They have been in several fights lately. I suppose they were in the late Battle of Corinth, Miss. I have heard nothing from them since eight days before the battle took place...Gen. Oglesby, who was a particular friend of father’s in his lifetime was mortally wounded in the Battle of Corinth. Many of my wife’s relatives and acquaintances were killed or wounded in the said battle. Brother Baptist is to be promoted shortly if alive. Brother George is at home with Mother. He was going into the army but could not be accepted on account of his feeble state of health...On last Thursday, the mail train going west on the Railroad on which I run as mail agent was thrown from the track. The express messenger was killed, two mail agents who were thrown off the train were badly bruised. The conductor was mortally wounded and 25 or 30 passengers badly hurt. It is a very badly built road...The war...now going on...I fear will last a long time. God grant that it may end in the complete subjection of the rebellion. No pen can describe the horrid casualties that have been practiced by the rebels against the Union men of the slave states...John M. Patton”


    Folds, toning. Very readable and a fine pair of letters relating to the service of the Patton brothers.


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