A 5-page and 6-page letters from Private John Johonot of the Sixt Battalion, Light Artillery of the 16th Maine Regiment written in 1862 only months before his death on December 20th in Baltimore. Transmittal envelopes are included as well as an especially poignant 2-page letter from his wife to her ailing husband only days before his death. Also included is a ten dollar bank note drawn on ht New Engalnd Bank which was in his posession when he died in Baltimore, MD on December 20, 1862.
The 16th Maine Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In Sept - Oct of 1862 they participated in the Maryland Campaign assigned to the 3rd Army Corps of Virginia. It was particularly noted for its service during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The 16th Maine was then ordered to withdraw to a new position to the east of where they had been fighting. "Take that position and hold it at any cost!" was the command. This meant that those of the 275 officers and men of the regiment who had not already become casualties had to sacrifice themselves to allow some 16,000 other men to retreat. This they valiantly did, but they were soon overwhelmed and forced to surrender to the Confederates. Historians say the 16th Maine fought valiantly, but its soldiers turned their attention to saving their beloved flags when they realized that defeat was inevitable. As the Southern troops bore down upon them, the men of the 16th Maine spontaneously began to tear up into little pieces their "colors." All in Fine condition with usual mailing folds, mailing envelopes opened at one end. Item #3089
My dear husband I did not tell you how anxious I have been about you since receiving your letter of October 21 and learned that you were no better and not receiving any letter for two weeks I fear greatly that I never should hear from you again and I have tried to commit this great burden upon God as my only hope and refuge in my hour of great trial and I can say to his praise that he has not forsaken me… Albina came home from Guptills in a pouring rain and weather bearing letters dated October 31 and November 3 inclusive thank God you are alive and that it is as well with you.
I am glad you have a more comfortable chance you were believing me when I say that I feel deeply for you in your privations and sufferings truly he who never forsake‘s those who put their trust in him must have been with you to care for and keep you alive in sickness in famine in peril and great discouragement."
dear John I comfort myself under it all that had not this sickness come upon you that you might have been killed in battle we cannot know but this sickness may prove a Messenger for good we cannot see as God sees his ways are not our ways take courage dear one I believe you will yet be restored to us again you have seen and suffered and learned a great deal during the 10 months that you have been a soldier thousands have toiled and suffered with you thousands have bled and died.
The war of the widow the wale of the widow the cry of the orphan has been heard all over the land and shouted before, may God Speed the day when this terrible scourge shall be swept from our land and peace and prosperity again prevail throughout our borders. There are three letters now on its way this will make four that I have got no return from in the first I enclosed a dollar I hope you have got them all before now I write every week sometimes often are you asked my opinion about getting a discharge if you have got my back letters you will know that is before this reaches you I don’t believe you will ever be able to serve in the ranks again and if you should regain your usual health of course you are to do the best you can for yourself and place yourself in the most comfortable easy and profitable situation possible. You know and I do not what the chance would be as a hospital nurse don’t place yourself in a worst chance than you have had for no consideration if it is better get it by all means I really believe from my very heart that you serve your country God and the cause of humanity much better in caring for the sick then dragging your poor weary body after a gun be it a big or small… I have resolutely shut my heart to that intense longing for be holding your face and laying in your dear arms how my heart beats for you in your toils in the past and parted with the hospital… It is a great as it is the struggle if in your better judgment you decide to stay I will do the best I can. You leave all with me at home I of course will not attempt to direct your steps there but $20 are better than $13 the chances being equal. Where is Dr. Cogswell from we have had quite a number of pieces in the Herald from Reverend Cogswell on the history of methodism from Rhode Island is he of that stock I hope this will find you much improved you will stay in the hospital of course till you are recovered what your future course….