1861 Letter - 1st New Hampshire - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Jefferson Whipple on Rebel Activity at Leesburg & Edwards Ferry

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1861 Letter - 1st New Hampshire - Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Jefferson Whipple on Rebel Activity at Leesburg & Edwards Ferry

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Item No. 8098157

A very interesting early Civil War letter written and signed by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Jefferson Whipple of the 1st New Hampshire Volunteers. Though undated, it was most likely written in June 1861 while the Regiment patrolled the Potomac River west of Washington, DC as part of Colonel Charles Stone's brigade. Whipple addressed the letter to a Colonel, which could either be Stone or the 1st New Hampshire's Colonel Mason Weare Tappan, and wrote about rebel activity near Leesburg and Edwards Ferry. It is interesting to imagine how antsy they all must have been, as the Battle of Bull Run was still a few weeks away at this point. The letter reads, in full:

Dear Col
A rocket has been sent up by the enemy in the direction of Harpers Edwards Ferry. This was at ten oclock. No camp fires visible on the other side.

The orderly sergeant of Co G thinks he discovered a masked battery 1 1/2 miles below here which commands the canal. This was reported since my last although discovered previously. I shall examine it in the morning.

Two covered wagons were driven up from Leesburg toward their guns late this afternoon which I learned half an hour since.

We are digging additional trenches tonight and shall face them right on the bank of the river and let them see that this opening fire across a river is small potatoes anyway.

The officers of the picket report all pickets properly established. At the upper ferry above the island the enemy have constructed some earth works just reported to me. They also have a large boat there. I have 10 good men there under Lt. [Charles H.] Drummer.

I have sent 3 men 2 miles farther up to another ford. Horsemen have been over here & recrossed at this farther most ford exhibiting a light as a signal. No other additional facts occur to me except the whiskey which I want the Quartermaster to remember and also some cigars.

I think some additional ammunition will be wanting. Shall have the quantity reported in the morning.
Truly yours, T.J. Whipple

The letter was written on the front and back of a stationery sheet measuring about 7 3/4" x 10". It is in good condition with some minor foxing and toning, creases where originally folded, and other general wear.

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