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Item 369 - Battle of the Wilderness Catalog 555 (May 2019)

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LS signed “Virgil M. Healy,” one page both sides, 7.75 x 9.75, August 8, 1864. Letter to W. J. Rusling, written from the "Head Quarters 8th N.J. Vols., Camp near Petersburg, Va.," containing a detailed record of the 8th New Jersey's movements during the Battle of the Wilderness. In part: "In compliance with Special Order 209 Hd Qrs Army of the Potomac…I have the honor to report the following as the part taken by this regiment during the first Epoch of the campaign embracing the battles of the Wilderness Va. The Regiment left camp near Brandy Station Va on the night of May 3rd, and crossed the Rapidan at daylight…halted on the old battle field of Chancellorsville and bivouacked; distance marched about 23 miles. On the 5th of May about 6 A.M., we left our bivouac and marched to the Brick Road (running through the Wilderness) and became engaged at 2 P.M., the regiment being relieved about 6 P.M. The regiment went into action with 10 officers and 184 enlisted men. At 5 A.M. on the morning of the 6th the regiment again advanced on the enemy's position, and remained under fire, during the day…the enemy attacked our front in strong force, but was repulsed with great loss. During the enemy's assault the regiment was deployed in rear of the second line as a Guard to arrest stragglers, and prevent the men from falling back from the works, and succeeded in collecting about 1000 men." In fine condition. Of Healy's reported men (10 officers and 184 enlisted men) who participated in the Battle of the Wilderness, 5 officers and 119 men were either killed, wounded, or missing, a casualty rate of 50% for officers and 64% for rank and file. The Battle of the Wilderness was a draw, and fighting in the area would continue until March 1865.

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