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393   William McCormick  $200 Unopened $200 0 You must login to place a bid.
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#393 - William McCormick Estimate: $200+

Remarkable archive of written material and artifacts belonging to Union soldier William H. McCormick, Company K of the 13th Michigan Infantry, consisting of his diary, letters, a tintype photograph, and the very bullet that struck his hip bone and forced his eventual discharge in 1863.

McCormick’s diary is comprised of 12 total pages written in pencil between April 2-9, 1862. The first entry, written from Tennessee, describes how the regiment passed several splendid plantations, including that of General Pillow. McCormick explains that General Garfield took command of his brigade on April 4th, and two days later he writes, "Have made today about 16 miles of a forced march to meet the rebels. Have heard cannonading all day."

On April 7th, he remarks that his brigade arrived in Savannah, Tennessee, about five miles north of Pittsburg Landing, the site of the ongoing Battle of Shiloh, and writes: “Can see the smoke from the field of action from the boat we are on, the Planet, which we take passage up the river 6 miles to within 3 miles of the battlefield. Expect to see some fighting between now (at noon) and tomorrow night… Captain Fitch or some friend will please send these notes to my wife if I should fall."

On the same date he continues: “I arrived at last on the battlefield one mile from the river (about 2:00)…took double-quick to the field of action but found the rebels running for dear life and our boys after them. Found the grounds strewn with the dead and dying. It looks rough. Stayed on the ground 'til night looking for their return, but no return. They run like turkeys and was shot down like pigeons.” McCormick and his brigade were part of General Buell's reinforcements, who arrived at the Shiloh battlefield before firing had ceased, but about the time that the Confederate Army began to withdraw at the orders of General Beauregard.

The diary continues from the battleground on April 8th: “Took after them this morning again. Overtook them after running them about five miles. Our infantry was standing in lines of battle ready for to pepper them if they broke our cavalry ranks, but our boys (the cavalrymen) started them and they went like a whirlwind. We lost the most men—50 or 60 killed and wounded—they are still going, our cavalry after them five miles from here." On the 9th, the diary relates: "This has been the hardest battle ever known in the United States…we buried over 2,500 rebels already, and still there is a great many to bury yet scattered through the woods—besides the prisoners. We have some of them dying every day from wounds. They fought like devils they say and killed a great many of our men, but wounded more, as they shot too low; I seen lots of the rebels and talked with them. There is some pretty clever men among them but think they are right…It is an awful sight to see the battlegrounds—to see the dead and dying, but a person will soon get accustomed to it. Horses and mules lay around dead by the hundreds and the woods is perfectly riddled with bullets and cannonballs and shells. We took over 500 dead rebels from one lot of about ten acres. We put over fifty in one pit."

Included with these excellent diary entries relating to Shiloh, the archive features several letters from McCormick to his wife. On May 14th, he wrote his wife from the hospital, describing his experiences and referring to the rebels in hospital with him. On September 11th, he described the skirmishes in Stevenson, Alabama, and guerilla warfare on the brigade's way back to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Letters of September 28th and November 6th describe activities in camp, and on December 28th, McCormick writes a lengthy letter from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, describing recent skirmishes, and the expectation that his brigade "will have a pretty hard fight tomorrow.” A few days later, he was wounded in the left hip at the battle at Stone River and was left on the battlefield overnight. The bullet which was removed at the hospital and given to him as a battlefield keepsake is included with this archive

In addition to a few letters from his wife, the collection includes a tintype of McCormick, housed in its original presentation case, a detailed family record, and a full transcription of the included diary entries and letters, assembled into a binder by one of McCormick's descendants. Also included is McCormick's diary for 1865 and 1866, which relates to bucolic concerns. The last item in this collection is a typed letter signed by Bruce Catton, a famous Civil War historian, concerning the publication of the letters. In overall very good condition, with occasional staining, soiling, and paper loss.




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