11-10-2001 11-10-2001
Skinner Auctions
Skinner Auctions Boston MA
2109 Boston
November 10, 2001 10:00 AMCalender

(CIVIL WAR-UNION-MASSACHUSETTS 54TH REGIMENT) Historically Important Archive of Letters from Captain Robert Newell

Auction: Sale #2109 - 2109 Location: Boston Date / Time: November 10, 2001 10:00AM


(CIVIL WAR-UNION-MASSACHUSETTS 54TH REGIMENT) Historically Important Archive of Letters from Captain Robert Newell, Massachusetts 54th Regiment, 1864-1865, approximately eighty letters, written to family, February 1864 through August 1865,describing, in detail, a trove of information on camp life, issues with the African American soldiers and other topics. All letters are extensive, poignantly written and filled with practical information about one of the most celebrated regiments of the war, the first regiment of African-American troops. Note: Captain Newell joined the Massachusetts 54th in January of 1864, some seven months after the famous but disastrous attack on Fort Wagner in which Robert Gould Shaw was killed. He accompanied his regiment through four distinctly different campaigns, Jacksonville February-April 1864; Morris Island, April-August 1864; Fort Green on Folly Island, August 1864 to January 1865; and Charleston, February-August 1865. Some excerpts: July 22, 1864, "There is a good deal of hostility to colored troops, at least to their having equal rights with white soldiers, even now, and in an anti-slavery administration. At any rate, the feeling of Stanton and others is by no means favorable to us. He will not take any pains to see justice is done; the President, with characteristic caution, to call it by the softest name, refuses to touch the matter at all, and there it stands." March 9, 1864, "We paused a moment to cap the guns and then hurried forward at double quick. Before we reached the Battlefield, there was not a knapsack left, the men threw everything away to lighten themselves and I finally followed their example!" February 19th, 1865, Charleston, "Charleston is ours, at last, by a bloodless victory and our feet have trodden the very inner temple of rebellion." April 27, 1865, Georgetown, "In our regiment, we have suffered a great loss in the death of Lt. Stevens, who was killed near Camden...only two days before we received a flag of truce from Genl. Young announcing the armistice between Sherman and Johnson." Copies of archive available upon request.
Estimate $10,000-15,000


Robert Gould Shaw, Massachusetts, Robert Newell, CIVIL WAR-UNION-MASSACHUSETTS 54TH REGIMENT, Captain Robert Newell, Fort Wagner, Morris Island, Fort Green, Folly Island, President , forward at double quick, Stevens, Georgetown, Johnson, Sherman