Pair of Letters Relating to Body of Private William Reid, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, Killed at Battle of Aldie, June 1863 + Bible, More

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Pair of Letters Relating to Body of Private William Reid, 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, Killed at Battle of Aldie, June 1863 + Bible, More

480.00

Item No. 6936745

A somber pair of letters concerning the body of Private William Reid of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, who had been killed June 17, 1863, at the Battle of Aldie. The first letter was written to Reid’s wife, Elizabeth, in September 1863 by the regiment’s Major Samuel E. Chamberlain. The Major regretted that Reid’s body could not be recovered from the battlefield, noting that “guerrillas infest that part of the country, and it would require at least one hundred men to proceed there in safety.” He closed the letter writing of his respect for Reid, sadly echoing the words he must have written to dozens of widows. The letter was written on two pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 5” x 8”. Excellent condition with light toning. Creased where originally folded.

The second letter, written to Reid’s father in East Boston in 1866 by Lieutenant Colonel Elisha E. Camp, indicated that Reid’s body, along with three other men from Reid’s Company B who were killed at Aldie, had been “removed to Arlington Cemetery and interred side by side.” The letter was written on the front side only of a sheet measuring about 7 3/4” x 10”. Very good condition with light toning. Creased where originally folded. Includes the original postmarked cover.

This group also includes three small books (not pictured), including 1) William Reid’s pocket-size New Testament with Reid’s name in pencil on the inside cover, along with the year 1855. Original pressed paper cover and binding intact. Very good condition. 2) Pocket-size book of Psalms, with the name of Reid’s father, James Reid, on the inside cover. Original cover. Loss to spine, but binding intact. Fair condition. 3) Second Class Reader with the name Jane K. Reid written on title page. Original hard cover. Split and partially torn spine. Binding intact. Poor to fair.

Transcript of first letter:

Annapolis Md Sep 25th / 63

Mrs. Elizabeth Reid

Dear Maddam
Your favor of the 16th reached me today. On the first of the month I was ordered for duty here, while with my regiment I endeavor to visit Aldie but could not, as our troops do not occupy it now. For the present it will be impossible for you to obtain the remains of your noble soldier. Guerrillas infest that part of the country, and it would require at least one hundred men to proceed there in safety.

I will, dear Maddam, take this opportunity to profess my warmest sympathies to you for your bereavement. He was a brave and gallant soldier, and by his universal good conduct and soldierlike bearing, won the respect and esteem of all, officers and men. He now sleeps the sleep of the brave, and although his loss is unrepairable, yet it must be a source of consolation and pride to know that none behaved with more gallantry or courage on that glorious day, the cavalry fights of Aldie. I send my warmest regards to you and yours and I assure you that I shall be happy to be of any assistance to obtain his honored remains that lays in my power.
I am, Maddam,
Very Respectfully Yours
S. E. Chamberlain
Major 1st Mass. Cav.

Transcript of second letter:

Washington D.C.
Aug. 28 1866

Jas. Reid Esq.
49 Chelsea St.
East Boston Mass.

Sir
In reply to yours of the 23rd ult. relative to bodies of W[illiam] Reid, [Private] Asa L. Robinson, [Private] John B. Freeman, and [Private] D[aniel] P. Sherman, all of Co. B. 1st Mass. Cavalry.

I would respectfully state that those bodies have been removed to Arlington Cemetery and interred side by side, the place from whence they were taken is noted and if it is found possible to identify the different bodies then names will be put upon the tablets. It will afford me pleasure to comply as far as in my power with the wishes of their friends.
Respectfully
Your obdt Srvt
E. E. Camp
Bvt. Lt. Col. & A.Q.M.
J. L. Brookad[?]

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