Correspondence from Henry I. Clark, 24th Connecticut Volunteers and Plantation Superintendent

Lot of 3 items identified to Henry I. Clark, Co. B, 24th Connecticut Regiment, including 2 letters from Clark to his brother [December 1862, August 1863], and a manuscript document stating that the owner of the Wailes Plantation has agreed to hire Henry Clark as Superintendant or overseer of the plantation [October 1, 1863].

Henry I. Clark survived a grueling and tortuous battle with the weather before his regiment landed at Ship Island, MS in December 1862. Clark boarded the steamer New Brunswick after marching approximately 100 miles with all his equipment including his Enfield rifle, from Connecticut to Brooklyn, NY. Sailing south out of New York harbor, Clark’s regiment was aboard a river steam boat in the open Atlantic Ocean. His ship was designed to ply the relatively placid waters of New England rivers. Somewhere about 300 miles off the coast of South Carolina a full gale threatened to sink the New Brunswick and drown all on board. Henry stated, “Officers and men mixed up in a great confusion. Some reading their bible, some praying and some swearing. Nearly all were seasick and were vomiting all over everything.

According to veteran crew members the New Brunswick’s fate was almost certain destruction. The winds however subsided and the ship proceeded. The screaming southwest wind had driven the New Brunswick far off course. After four days out of sight of land, the ship arrived among the Bahama Islands.

An encounter with a ship which initially displayed the Union Jack of England ended positively when the ship replaced the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes of the USA. The ship had believed that the New Brunswick contained “rebel privateers.”

After refueling with coal at Tortugas and surviving an extremely harrowing sea voyage the New Brunswick arrived at Ship Island, MS. At this point, Clark most likely believed his Civil War experiences would seem rather sedate compared to the voyage that delivered him to his post.

Clark’s second letter of August 28, 1863, which was written after he was discharged on August 7, relates his experiences in acquiring employment as superintendent of a large Louisiana plantation. “And here I am all alone, the only white man on the place with 250 negroes to take charge of...Although no force is used, if they won’t work, they get nothing to eat. Corn and sugar cane are the main crops of the Wailes Plantation...The women and boys are at work gathering fodder.” Henry states, “That is picking the leaves off from the corn as it stands and putting it into bundles. The men are cutting and carting the wood for the sugar boiling.

Also included is a manuscript contract stating that the owner of the Wailes Plantation, A.B. Tripler, agrees to hire Henry I. Clark for $75/month to be the Superintendent or overseer of the Wailes Plantation.

Estimate: $400 - $600
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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