1863 ALS Letter - Gettysburg Brigade Commander Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer Defends Conduct of 32nd Massachusetts Regiment

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1863 ALS Letter - Gettysburg Brigade Commander Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer Defends Conduct of 32nd Massachusetts Regiment

239.99

Item No. 1789166

An interesting March 1863 Civil War letter from Colonel Jacob B. Sweitzer (brigade commander at Gettysburg, Wilderness, and other battles; later Brevet Brigadier General) of the 62nd Pennsylvania Volunteers to Colonel Francis J. Parker, original commander of the 32nd Massachusetts, another regiment in Sweitzer's brigade. The letter concerns an unflattering report about the 32nd resulting from a camp inspection that took place during Sweitzer's absence. The incident likely occurred while the Army of the Potomac lay in its winter quarters at Falmouth in late 1862 and early 1863. It reads:

Head Quarters 62 R.P.V.
Camp Near Falmouth Va
March 19th 1863

Col Frank J. Parker
Boston Mass

Dear Col
Your letter of the 23rd ultimo came to head quarters during my absence on leave, was mis-laid, and not answered by me for some time after my return. Meanwhile Col McQuade [14th New York Volunteers] returned and relieved me of the command of the Brigade and I am now nothing but a plain Colonel again.

In answer to your remarks concerning the condition of the 32 Mass Regt and the report lately made of it, I can say that the report was made at a very unfortunate season, and under very unfortunate circumstances for the Regiment. There was no field officers present. Nearly the whole available force of the Regt were off at the time on fatigue duty. Matters at the time were just such as to give the camp the worst possible appearance it could have.

The report was made during my absence. I have never seen it. From what I have heard of it, I think it does the regiment injustice in some respects. not [illegible] I think, but in consequence of very intelligent answers being given to the Captain in charge of the inspecting office. The defects were merely temporary and since that report was made have been corrected.

The Regiment was a good one while under your command always did its duty. There and my word for it will again whenever called upon.

His excellency the Governor [John Andrew of Massachusetts] need be under no apprehensions that the fair name of the state will never be tarnished by the conduct of the 32d. I am sorry that particular report reached him and hope that some of them made since may also be sent him that he may have an opportunity of comparing them and arriving at a proper conclusion as to the character of the Regiment.

What I have written my dear Col is no longer official and unfortunately the gentleman now in command of the Brigade is not cognizant of the facts. I have done it therefore as your late compassion in [illegible] - out of personal regard for the Regiment & for you. And if it can be of any service to you I should be very glad.

Very truly your friend
J.B. Sweitzer Col
Commdg 62 R.P.V.

The letter was written on a standard bifolium stationery sheet measuring about 8" x 10". The paper is in good sturdy condition, not stiff, and not particularly delicate. Some toning on left margin. Rear shows remnants from being mounted in an album. The letter also has four horizontal and two vertical creases from original folds.

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