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.

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
Mounted Albumen of General George Crook in Arizona,
Lot # 529 - Mounted Albumen of General George Crook in Arizona,
5 x 8" on orange mount. Looking every bit the "great white hunter," Crook posed for this uncredited photograph in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1886 while in command of the peaceful Department of the Platte, the same time he began writing his introspective autobiography, unfinished at his death in 1890. Th... > Item Details
Half Plate Union Case, <i>The Wedding Procession</i>,
Lot # 3318 - Half Plate Union Case, The Wedding Procession,
(Berg 1-10), housing an ambrotype portrait of two women with their two daughters and their dolls. > Item Details
1901-1905 Consolidated Alaskan (Gold Mine) Company Archive,
Lot # 3063 - 1901-1905 Consolidated Alaskan (Gold Mine) Company Archive,
lot of six, includes a fine printed prospectus, The Consolidated Alaskan Company. Owners of Gold Bearing Placer and Quartz Mines, Located in Nome and other Districts of Alaska. 12mo, 32pp, illustrated with six maps of their holdings, a woodcut drawing of a bird's-eye of Nome, Alaska, showing their h... > Item Details
Stampless Letter Postmarked Martinsburg, Virginia
Lot # 3438 - Stampless Letter Postmarked Martinsburg, Virginia
one page, integrally addressed Berkeley County, Va. Feb 1, 1840written by J. Van Cleve, addressed to Samuel Barclay of Harrisburg, PA., regarding business prospects in several counties in Pennsylvania. An attempt to persuade the reader to approve future business transactions. > Item Details
Rare Large Format Photograph of  a Western Indian School,
Lot # 254 - Rare Large Format Photograph of a Western Indian School,
13 x 9.725” on 14 x 10.75” gold-beveled mount with imprint, Photographed and Published by D. Marsh of Big Rapids, Michigan, and titled, Western Scenery. The group of Indian boys and girls are dressed in white clothing. Also in the group are the women teachers and an Indian man. They are standing ... > Item Details
CDV of Union Soldier,
Lot # 3145 - CDV of Union Soldier,
unidentified, with A.M. Allen, Pottsville, Pa., imprint wearing eight-button fatigue jacket with edges trimmed in colored tape. > Item Details
1860 Southern Stagecoach Waybill,
Lot # 3416 - 1860 Southern Stagecoach Waybill,
12.36 x 7.84" document with G.H. Slaughter & Co., Proprietors written above. Below: Hopkinsville To Clarksville & Nashville. General Stage Office, Apl 11th 1860 . Includes the names of three passengers, the number of seats occupied, where they came from and where they are going, and how much the t... > Item Details
George Trager Boudoir Photograph of Chief Little Wound's Camp, Oglala Sioux,
Lot # 411 - George Trager Boudoir Photograph of Chief Little Wound's Camp, Oglala Sioux,
an overview of Little Wound's camp on the Pine Ridge Reservation giving one a good sense of the enormity of the Dakota landscape. Likely taken in 1890. With the photographer's studio imprint. > Item Details
Baker & Johnston Cabinet Card of Young Calf, Arapaho,
Lot # 325 - Baker & Johnston Cabinet Card of Young Calf, Arapaho,
with imprint of Baker & Johnston, Evanston, Wyoming. Title appears on the back card as number 45. A pencil inscription, verso, amends this to Yellow Calf. This young man is dressed as Arapaho commonly went into battle, as documented in hundreds of self-portraits seen in ledger drawings. He wears wo... > Item Details
Albumen photograph of Yellow Smoke, Omaha,
Lot # 292 - Albumen photograph of Yellow Smoke, Omaha,
with imprint of Pierre Petit, Paris, 1883. Ink title inscription, recto: Fumée Jaune--Yello Smoke. Another Petit portrait of Yellow Smoke is given in Fleming and Luskey 1986, Fig. 9.18. The otter fur turban has the stiffened tail extending horizontally, decorated with embroidered patterns of cut and... > Item Details
Three Presidential Appointments for Thaddeus Stanton,
Lot # 553 - Three Presidential Appointments for Thaddeus Stanton,
all folio, partially printed on velum. Includes his 1890 appointment as Deputy Paymaster General of the United States Army, signed by Bejamin Harrison; his appointment as Lieutenant Colonel with a Brevet for meritorius service in action against Indians under Crazy Horse, on the Powder River, Montan... > Item Details
A Collection of Early Arctic Prints,
Lot # 973 - A Collection of Early Arctic Prints,
lot of 32; including an issue of Galleria Universale di Tutti I popoli del Mondo, Vol. I, issue VXI; 4to, 1839; PLUS an eight page chapter from Mariner's Chronicle: Containing Narratives of the Most Remarkable Disasters at Sea..., "Sufferings and Extraordinary Adventures of Four Russian Sailors", 16... > Item Details
A. Frank Randall Albumen Photograph of Chief Loco's Camp, Warm Springs Apache,
Lot # 440 - A. Frank Randall Albumen Photograph of Chief Loco's Camp, Warm Springs Apache,
the photo depicts Chief Loco and three children standing in front of their wickiups. Loco was an influential leader and figured prominently in the events of the 1870s and 1880s. He lost his left eye to a grizzly bear attack as a young man and this injury can be noted in the photo. Albumen print glue... > Item Details
Chromolithographed <i>Texide Condom Box</i>,
Lot # 3058 - Chromolithographed Texide Condom Box,
a 2.75 x 4.3" chromolithograph case stock lidded box with top having image of rubber tappers and Texide/Guaranteed Five Years/1931 Made in U.S.A., interior of lid with printed label, bottom of box with art deco label with Genuine/Texide/The Original/Liquid latex/Water Cured/Prophylactic.... > Item Details
W. G. Chamberlain CDV of <i>Ouray, Chief of the Ute Indians</i>,
Lot # 351 - W. G. Chamberlain CDV of Ouray, Chief of the Ute Indians,
with his Denver, Colorado, imprint, circa 1868. Gunnison’s ink title inscription appears verso. Ouray’s coat, made of dark blue wool, saved-list trade cloth with strips of porcupine quillwork on the arms and shoulders, and leather fringes, is now in the National Museum of the American Indian. > Item Details
[CIVIL WAR.] Gen. M.F. Wright's <i>Battles and Commanders of the Civil War</i>,
Lot # 3188 - [CIVIL WAR.] Gen. M.F. Wright's Battles and Commanders of the Civil War,
another of those incredible run-on titles extending to nearly 100 words or more, but basically the war drawings done by the artists working for Frank Leslie’s periodical during the war, edited by Marcus F. Wright, Washington, n.d., folio in red buckram boards, 584pp. > Item Details
Spanish American War Lady's
Lot # 3219 - Spanish American War Lady's "Sweetheart" Belt,
stamped brass with alternating naval anchors and cello set U.S. flag with Old Glory printed below, 29.25" long. > Item Details
1876 War Department Maps of Gettysburg Battle Field, by Bien,
Lot # 793 - 1876 War Department Maps of Gettysburg Battle Field, by Bien,
with map case and letter, Boston : John B. Bachelder, 1876. NOTES "Printed by Endicott & Co. . . . N.Y." "The map is reduced from one on a scale of 200 feet to the inch, deposited in the Archives of the office of the Chief of Engineers. The survey was ordered by Brevet Major General A. A. Humphrey... > Item Details
Leslies Magazine with Flagg's Uncle Sam Cover,
Lot # 3161 - Leslies Magazine with Flagg's Uncle Sam Cover,
lot of three, with first having illustration of Miss Liberty driving a coup convertable with Uncle Sam in passenger seat by James Montgomery Flagg. Dated January 5th, 1918, PLUS 2nd James Montgomery flag cover of Miss Liberty ringing Liberty Bell Mounted on top of a globe. Dated January, 19th 1918, ... > Item Details
O.S. Goff Albumen Photograph of Crow Chief Pretty Eagle and Family,
Lot # 321 - O.S. Goff Albumen Photograph of Crow Chief Pretty Eagle and Family,
7 x 9.25" and mounted on larger card stock, titled in script on mount Pretty Eagle and family; family portrait of Pretty Eagle, his wife, and four children including hs son, Holds His Enemy, taken on the steps of a house, a sleeping dog lies on the porch next to them. Pretty Eagle's skeleton was "c... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20