1861 Letter - 6th US Cavalry Private Describes Cavalry Drills & McClellan's Review of 70,000 Troops

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1861 Letter - 6th US Cavalry Private Describes Cavalry Drills & McClellan's Review of 70,000 Troops

249.99

Item No. SQ1595619

Offered here is an interesting Civil War soldier letter written upon decorative stationery featuring a federal eagle with shield and standards. The letter was written in December, 1861, by Private Mason K. Sturgeon of the 6th United States Cavalry, a regiment of the Regular Army. Writing to a friend, Sturgeon described the various friends visiting in his camp east of Washington, which included a generous Thanksgiving spread. Most interesting are Sturgeon's description of the grand review of 70,000 troops he witnessed, his description of General George B. McClellan's appearance, as well as the spectacle of watching his cavalry regiment drill, as complicated movements were executed at a trot or gallop. The letter reads, in part:

I received your letter last Saturday & after attempting to answer it several times I now try it again & calculate to make this time count if I have to go in the guardhouse to pay for it.... Will Glazier has been here nearly all day. He says he likes Military life well and is encamped on the other side of the river 8 miles from the Capitol. Gifford was over to see us last Saturday he looks well but has been very sick. The Wednesday before Will, Dagget, & Clark were here. Will was so tickled to see us I thought his eyes would jump out of his head. It was Thanksgiving. Seth Perly was here and brought oysters also a keg of apple butter that [Andrew F.] Swan's folks had sent him. We bought pies & cake & evaded [?] in with a relish.
Swan & I were over at the grand Review on the other side of the River. It was a sight worth seeing 70,000 troops in all. Have since had one here. General McClellan was the reviewing officer. He is a fine looking man, but looks like one worn down by fatigue. Our Regt was reviewed again today by General [Philip St. George] Cooke. I was excused & did not go out. Every man had to have a clean horse (as we always do have), black his boots, put on extra polish on his sabre &c, roll his blanket & buckle it on the saddle. Nose bags and picket ropes were also put on. Our horses are generally good. I’ve one about as good as they make. John if you were a giving man and had a notion of joining the army, if you could see the Cavalry Drill I think you would enlist in no other part of the army, it is beautiful to see them make a left or right turn, the pivot halting, & wheeling flank coming around on the trot or gallop as the case may be. Occasionally a horse slips up & then rider is sent to his quarters with his sore shoulder or broken arm. While out on review today 9 of our Co were thrown as far as well could be. Were well but one had his sabre broke in two. John I have not time to write more, have no particular news only that all is quiet on the Potomac, have not been taken prisoner nor have not had a chance to be.
Please excuse all blunders for this was written on double quick time.

The letter is written on all four pages of a 5" x 7 3/4" stationery sheet. The paper is in excellent, sturdy condition, not stiff, and not particularly delicate, except at the folds where some minor separation has begun. Little wear to edges and corners.

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