1864 Letter by Lieutenant John Connell, 56th New York - Beaufort, South Carolina - Bound for Petersburg?

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1864 Letter by Lieutenant John Connell, 56th New York - Beaufort, South Carolina - Bound for Petersburg?

150.00

Item No. 6185218

An interesting 1864 soldier letter written by Lieutenant John Connell of the 56th New York. Writing to his uncle from Beaufort, South Carolina, Connell discussed the preparations being made by regiments to be transferred to the Petersburg front in Virginia, mentioning three USCT regiments already en route. While his own 56th New York would remain in South Carolina, Connell was high on confidence that Union armies would soon be marching through Richmond. The letter reads:

Camp 56th Regt N.Y. Vols
Beaufort S.C. Augt 8th 1864

Dear Uncle
Your late letter bearing no date came to hand yesterday which afforded much pleasure to hear of the continued good health of the family. I have also received your other letter of July 25th and was in the act of answering it when I received your last. I have but very little of importance to communicate at present further than we expect to be ordered to Grant’s Army as most of the troops in this department are ordered to join him immediately or at least as soon as transportation can be furnished which seems to be very scarce here at present. There has already [been]three colored Regiments left from this post and are now in their way to join that heroic but unfortunate Army of the Potomac. I only trust their along with others on their way may be the means of carrying General Grant through the streets of Petersburgh and on to the gates of Richmond by that time I dare say them late five hundred thousand now called for will be on their way if not already their to join in the Grand March over the defenses and into Richmond. By the tone of your letter you seemed to be rather discouraged but you must remember that the darkest hour is always before day light. If so you must wait patiently for the bright hour to come and I have every hope and entire confidence in General Grant’s Patriotism and ability to lead our army to Victory and to such an overwhelming one that it will for ever expel and disperse the Rebel holds in his first and thus bring forth the dawn of peace. I don’t see How it is you at home are so easily discouraged if you were only to see the Soldiers in the field who has to bear with the hardships and dangers of all it would a bring a blush to your cheek to think that you at home should feel at all discouraged. Trust to their courage and devotion and depend on it all will go well. As you spoke in regard to the way I should treat my men I assure you that it will ever be my first duty to look to their comfort and welfare and in doing so I shall only be fulfilling a part of my duty to both them and our Cause. But while I treat them with whatever Kindness they deserve, yet, I assure you that as they themselves have already found out I am not one that can be easily played upon nor seldom found sleeping. In saying this you must not think me boasting in any way as it is the true sentiments of my mind. My Health remains good and one thing I have to boast of is of having the healthiest company in the Regiment. I don’t know how to account for this. Some say it is strict discipline and others lay it to the physical abilities of the men. However my belief is that a good disciplinarian is better in the army than a good surgeon. Them men did pay like gentlemen. I expect in coarse of a few weeks to be able to send home about 200 dollars. I have drawn very little pay since we came back but my next pay day I will draw something over 300 dollars. Therefore I think I will be able to save about, if not over, the amount I proposed to save. I must close for the present by sending my Kind Love to Elizabeth and the family also to Aunt Jane and the girls and believe me dear Uncle
To remain
Your affectionate
John Connell

The letter was written on all four pages of a 5” x 8” stationery sheet. It is in very good condition with light toning and foxing. Creased where originally folded.

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