85th New York Infantry soldier writes of Battle of Fair Oaks

From Fall/Winter catalog of Brian Green

85th N.Y. INF. ALS, 15 1/3pp., 8vo., Camp near Oakwood Swamp 6/25/62 pert to Battle of Fair Oaks. Soldier (Bancroft/died at Andersonville) writes lengthy detailed battle letter. Discusses food sources incl. turtles, heavy rains & hail (large as hen’s eggs), is in line of battle, discusses battle incl. preparations (incl. playing cards), pickets red upon, shelling Union troops, ring a torrent of deadly hail from their fast-thinning ranks which are lined up fast but Federals work harder & “take better aim” to cause them to turn & retreat but not in confusion, reinforced & came again, not only front but sides, Union battery silenced, gunners mostly KIA or WIA, most of horses killed, have to retreat from being captured, meet reinforcements & take part in increasing the fight, enemy driven back, see them then march in regt. “ready for the fray” Federals have the “advantage of the woods, dipped inn to avoid them that remembered that “balls that went whiz did not hurt,” fought until “night set in,” firing then stopped, Rebels driven back on left, they had removed their dead & “nothing left to mark the spot where they fell but their blood which they had shed as free as water,” tents had 20 bullet holes in them, even cups sitting on the ground had ball holes through them, have buried their dead but not all of enemy dead buried due to their getting “bad”,have marched back & now camped nearly 7 miles from battleground etc.  Transcript. $795.00

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