Lot 771    

Two Shiloh Battle Letters Written by Jacob M. Porter, 8th Ohio Battery,
2007, Western & Historic Americana, Dec 6th and 7th
a pair of manuscript letters with a single cover written by Pvt. Porter to his sister and brother in Ohio. The first inked letter is 5pp dated March 11, 1862 (Porter meant April 11) and the second from April 14, 1862 is 4pp, picking up some material from the first. Porter recounts his journey from St. Louis, arriving at Fort Henry in the wake of the battle and noting that “everything was toren to stems.” He talks about arriving at “Savannah on the 27th (March)” and Grant “ordering us to camp 8 miles above the town at which we are now at,” adding, “I am happy to inform you that I have just passed through one of the Bloodiest and hard fought battles that was ever fought in America without the least wound.” From the perspective of the 8th Ohio Battery, Porter recounts the battle of Shiloh as he saw it beginning with the Rebel attack at daylight on Sunday, April 6, admitting that we were “not expecting an attack at all. But to our surprise we found them right in our Camp with 10 thousand strong and 3 of our regiments was thrown out immediately to a line of battle.” The battle line was forced to withdraw and “our men were so surprised and skaired at the sudden attack so that they would not fight.” The Federal line was pushed back, or as Porter says “retreated back 4 miles before they made a stand.” The battle raged until nightfall when “the rebels were compelled to retreat.” Of the 8th Ohio Battery at Shiloh Porter wrote, “Our battery was in the fight when they made one of there heaviest charges on Sunday afternoon. Bury Gard (Beauregard) was in command that time himself. There was three regiments came up with 3 hundred yards of our battery. We were on top of a hill and we just poreed the shells and canon balls into them without the loss of any of our men and drove them back.” Porter omits details of the next two days but says the “battle lasted three days before we whipped them but we having nothing to brag of. I have no time to give you the full details of it but shall in the future if I live.” The balance of the letter talks about weather and his dire need for postage stamps, the health and well-being of mutual Ohio friends in the army, ending with the usual expressions of love. In a lengthy postscript Porter asks his sister for a photograph, “have a miniature taken on paper and send it to me.” He writes that they expect to “have another battle here in a short time” claiming that the army now numbers “near 2 hundred thousand” men. Porter adds, incorrectly, that “we killed General Brags here in this battle” and then makes a wild statement saying, “I cut several buttons of his coat and a piece of his shirt.” Porter ends with the human tally, “We also killed Jonson and took his son Prisinor. The agitant reports today killed and wounded on the rebels side 11 thousand. On our side killed and wounded 7 thousand.”

In the April 14 letter to his brother, Porter says that “the 8th Battery did good service in this battle without the loss of a single man,” adding, “Our battery was in the fight when they made one of their most gallant charges attempting to drive us into the Tennessee River or take us all prisoners but they found it a little too heavy for the artillery…as they came up we first mowed them down. I was told afterwards by one of the prisoners that they lost more men on that one charge than they lost the hole day.” Too delicate a subject for his sister to read, Porters confided to his brother, “The most horrible scene that any mortal being ever witnessed is the battle field. To hear the pleading of the wounded and the groans of the dying and then those that have bin toren to pieces by shells and cannon balls. I volunteered my sirvises one whole day in hauling the dead and wounded from the field. Some places they lay as thick as cross ties. Some regiments would bury their own men in other places they would dig a hole about 3 feet deep and as long as they wished it and place them with their face down. Some time put one or two wagon loads in each place and then according to Army regulations fire over their graves.” Porter concludes by telling about a strange accident on the battlefield that killed an Ohio boy, a friend named Leonard Ulery. Ulery had been “boxing up some ammunition” when “some soldiers unloading a wagon load of muskets that had bin gathered up off the battlefield and was throwing them down on a pile out of the wagon (when) one happened to go off and shot him. The ball entered in his left side passed through his lung and was taken out his back.”

Twenty-one-year old Jacob M. Porter had enlisted as private in the 8th Ohio Battery in January 1862 and was promoted through the ranks. In September 1863 he became a captain in the 3rd U.S. Colored Heavy Artillery but for some unexplained reason was reduced to 2nd lieutenant in December 1863. Porter was discharged from service in December 1864. Typed transcriptions of both fine battle letters accompany.

Condition:  
Letters with fold lines but undamaged, clear, and easy to read, near VG. Single cover torn with piece loose.
Sold: $1,840.00
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Unusual Spanish American War Veterans Medal,
Lot # 3226 - Unusual Spanish American War Veterans Medal,
a four part design containing a cross shaped bronze inscribed with Cuba, Portorico, U.S.A, and Philippine Islands. In the center, two soldiers are depicted on either side of a kneeling woman with raised arms. In standing position, each are in view of one another with a weapon in hand. Inscribed ... > Item Details
Parker and Johnson CDV of Pawnee Man,
Lot # 117 - Parker and Johnson CDV of Pawnee Man,
with imprint of Parker & Johnson, Omaha, Nebraska. Pencil inscription, verso: Pawnee Brave. This image was made by Jackson Bros., circa 1868, but printed and sold by Parker & Johnson, post-1871. A cluster of silver ball and cone earrings hangs from this young man’s earlobe. He wears a side-stitched,... > Item Details
Rare Lithograph of <i>Cincinnati In 1841, </i><i>For The Family Magazine.</i>
Lot # 3427 - Rare Lithograph of Cincinnati In 1841, For The Family Magazine.
by Klauprech & Monzel's Lith. A scenic depiction of two gentleman engaging in conversation while looking towards the view of the Miami Erie Barge Canal in the Ohio Valley from a Mt. Auburn hillside. 13 x 11," (framed) 9.5 x 6" (sight). > Item Details
[CIVIL WAR.]  <I>Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society</I>,
Lot # 3193 - [CIVIL WAR.] Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society,
Vols. I (664pp), II (604pp), IV (505pp), V (394pp) and IX (589pp), edited By Franklin L. Riley, printed in Oxford and Jackson, Mississippi, 1901-1918. All with boards covered with cloth and embossed with title on spine, Vol. IX with state seal on cover, Vols. IV and V with untrimmed foredge, all 8v... > Item Details
Photograph of Custer Hunting Buffalo in Kansas, 1869,
Lot # 513 - Photograph of Custer Hunting Buffalo in Kansas, 1869,
6.25 x 4.5" albumen image, mounted on larger, thin cream stock, with inked manuscript title Buffalo at Bay (General Custer and party), and further identified near Smoky Hill River, Ks. 1869. Lieut. Col. Custer appears directly behind the apparently unconcerned buffalo. A fine, large print of K-101... > Item Details
GAR/UCV Friendship Banner,
Lot # 3199 - GAR/UCV Friendship Banner,
printed cotton with illustration of a Confederate and Union soldier shaking hands with U.S. shield between and spread winged eagle with crossed flags above, 23.5 x 34.5". > Item Details
Two Studio Silver Gelatin Photographs of Pawnee
Lot # 248 - Two Studio Silver Gelatin Photographs of Pawnee
both 8 x 6" mounted on cream card stock. The woman wears a dark cotton dress or blouse with tight sleeves and has a cotton wrap embroidered with strips of silk ribbon. She has necklaces of glass, imitation wampum and silver ball and cone earrings. The husband is a religious leader, as indicated by t... > Item Details
B. H. Gurnsey CDV of Rushing Bear, Hereditary Head Chief of the Arikara,
Lot # 271 - B. H. Gurnsey CDV of Rushing Bear, Hereditary Head Chief of the Arikara,
with imprint of Byron H. Gurnsey, Sioux City, Iowa, 1870. His father was named The Star, so Rushing Bear was sometimes referred to as Son of The Star. Rushing Bear’s shirt, with beaded strips on the shoulders and sleeves, and heavily fringed with hair locks and ermine skins, is now in the National M... > Item Details
W. R. Cross Stereoview of <i>SCAFFOLDS-Indian dead bodies. Yankton Agency, D.T.</i>,
Lot # 421 - W. R. Cross Stereoview of SCAFFOLDS-Indian dead bodies. Yankton Agency, D.T.,
depicting four scaffold burials on the open plains near Yankton Agency, D.T. > Item Details
Currier & Ives Lithograph of Lincoln and Family,
Lot # 3149 - Currier & Ives Lithograph of Lincoln and Family,
uncolored, 12 x 16" with margins matted over in period walnut cross-cut frame, 18 x 22". > Item Details
William Irwin Cabinet Card of a Cheyenne Woman and Child Raising a Tipi,
Lot # 219 - William Irwin Cabinet Card of a Cheyenne Woman and Child Raising a Tipi,
the poles are in place and the Cheyenne mother is just beginning to spread the canvas tipi around the frame. > Item Details
Large Hillers Color Transparency, <i>Yosemite</i>,
Lot # 598 - Large Hillers Color Transparency, Yosemite,
beautiful color image of El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley, the Merced River can be seen in the foreground; in original oak window sash, 41.5 x 50.5". In the 1890s, towards the end of his career, Hillers' created a number of transparencies from his earlier Survey photographs for exhibits, including ... > Item Details
Sixth Plate Ambrotype of New York City Policeman circa 1860,
Lot # 630 - Sixth Plate Ambrotype of New York City Policeman circa 1860,
with a large metallic second issue Metropolitan badge and chain pinned to the breast of his dark frock coat with fold-over collar. This type of shield was in use from 1857 to 1870. New York City installed its first Chief of Police in 1845 and the department became a model for the nation based on it... > Item Details
1907 Mining Map of Arizona,
Lot # 3056 - 1907 Mining Map of Arizona,
entitled Sketch Map of Arizona, 1907, by George S. Clason, Denver, Colorado, Compliments of Frank H. Horn, High Class Mining Stocks, Gumbel Building, Kansas City, Mo., 16 x 22”. > Item Details
[CIVIL WAR.] Brady and Gardner Book of Civil War Photographs,
Lot # 3186 - [CIVIL WAR.] Brady and Gardner Book of Civil War Photographs,
E.B. Eaton,War Photographs taken on the Battlefields duirng the Civil War of the United States, horizontal folio in blue boards with tan buckram spine, 126pp with a very complete index, Hartford. 1907. A precursor to Miller's Photographic History, this was apparently printed by Eaton after securing ... > Item Details
CDV of Pawnee Family,
Lot # 114 - CDV of Pawnee Family,
with imprint of Adolph Bode, Omaha, Nebraska, circa 1868. Ink inscription, verso: Pawnee. Clearly the two women are mother and daughter. Probably the man is the elder woman’s son, since she and a son-in-law would generally have avoided each other’s company. > Item Details
Scarce Anti-Jackson Broadside,
Lot # 644 - Scarce Anti-Jackson Broadside,
9.75 x 7.75", framed 17 x 15.5". IRISHMEN/ Read and Reflect. Broadside quotes the opinion of Daniel O'Connell, a prominent Irish leader and liberator, regarding Andrew Jackson: "...could not feel, therefore, any wish to see such a man as Andrew Jackson, sway the destinies of a rising and prosperous ... > Item Details
Printed 42 Star U.S. National Parade Flag,
Lot # 3249 - Printed 42 Star U.S. National Parade Flag,
cotton with six rows of seven stars, sewn hoist, 12 x 17". > Item Details
Spectacular Grant/ Colfax 1868 Campaign Poster,
Lot # 849 - Spectacular Grant/ Colfax 1868 Campaign Poster,
26.5 x 36" with oval portraits of a uniformed Grant and Colfax in civilian dress with laurel wreath surround and crossed U.S. flags with spread winged eagle clutching U.S. shield surmount entitled Republican Campaign Chart, below portraits are three large text blocks, left with Grant's biography, ri... > Item Details
W. E. Hook Boudoir Albumen Photograph of Flathead Chief Arlee, His Sons, and Grandsons,
Lot # 322 - W. E. Hook Boudoir Albumen Photograph of Flathead Chief Arlee, His Sons, and Grandsons,
with Hook's Colorado Springs, Colorado, blindstamp on mount, titled in negative, Arlee, Sons & Grandsons, Chief of Flatheads, Mont. Portrait of three generations of men, all dressed in traditional garb. The man in the center has the carrying strap of his bow case and quiver wrapped across his chest,... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: