2024-07 Raynors Historical Collectible Auctions
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 7/13/2024
A grouping of thirty-seven letters, September 11, 1860 through September 29, 1863 written by Selby Stephen Fish who enlisted in the 17th New York Infantry in May 1861. Not long after his arrival in Virginia, Selby contracted typhoid and was hospitalized for two months. The disease left him permanently weakened and he was again hospitalized in May 1862 with an unspecified illness. By that summer, Selby had recovered sufficiently for active service, and under McClellan, took part in the Peninsular Campaign (the siege at Yorktown and the Seven Days Battles) and in Pope's campaign in northern Virginia (including 2nd Bull Run). Selby was Mustered Out on 6/2/1863 at New York, NY. While attending a radical Republican convention in 1866, Selby was shot twice and severely beaten when a violent mob of citizens and police disrupted the meeting. The following are excerpts are from these letters; Marion, New York, 11th September 1860, "...How is Uncle Stephen (Douglas) prospering in your community? Was at Mr. Phelps Sunday evening. ... hey attended an Antislavery Lecture given in the place Sunday. How such things will take with them, I don't know. One thing is certain-that they'll not stay in Marion without hearing some opinions advanced which they are not accustomed to in Old Alabama. ..." ... Williamson, New York, September 22nd 1860, "... You say that Chicago is a good Republican city and in the next breath say that the morals of the place are at the lowest point. ... in the evening following I had the honor to be one among seventeen hundred who promenaded the streets under the Wide Awake Banner. ..." ... Marion [New York], October 11th 186, " ... You saw the celebrated Prince of Wales; probably you came to the conclusion as others have that he was but a man, although he is imprisoned by a band of noblemen. .." ... Williamson [New York], January 14, 1861, " ... The New Year is created amid scenes-social and political-which can never pass from the mind as long as the remembrance of the once glorious Republic of America shall be on record. You state that you were celebrating the movements of Colonel Anderson [at Fort Sumter]. ... Our Chief Magistrate [James Buchanan], notwithstanding all his corruption and treason, says that if he survives until the 4th of March, he will ride to the Capitol with Old Abe even if he is to be assassinated for the act! ..." ... Williamson [New York], March 16, 1861, " ... Yes, Eliza, the Democrats do feel chagrined because Lincoln did not give their clansmen a chance to make an example of their barbarity upon him at Baltimore. ..." ... Marion [New York], May 1st, 1861, " ... Today's paper gives an account of a committee from New York visiting the President and tendering him an addition of 75,000 men and 100,000,000 dollars to keep open the road from Pennsylvania to Washington through Baltimore ..." ... Williamson [New York], May 20th 1861, "In Old Wayne [County], we are forming state militia companies in the different towns, in which we shall learn something of military life. The company in Williamson which I have joined meets tomorrow evening to perfect their organization. ..." ... September 10, 1861, " ... You accuse me of assuming "a Brutus Argument." I would that I were worthy to claim a Brutus honor by striking the would be monarch of the Cotton Kingdom a death blow.... " ... Union Hospital, Georgetown D. C., October 30th 1861, " ... Have been undecided whether I should return to my regiment to perform the active duties of a soldier or go to another hospital of more recent formation to attend to the wants of suffering soldiers. ... Why, the great Army of the Potomac has succeeded in forcing the rebels five or six miles from the river and have been badly whipped several times at that...." ... Washington D. C., February 27, 1862, "... Rumor this evening states that Gen. Banks' Division on the Upper Potomac have been repulsed in an attempt to advance. ..." ... Harrison's Landing, Va.,Camp 17th New York, August 6th 1862, " ...That McClellan could not have gone into Richmond at the time of the late battle is not altogether certain. Yet had the left wing pressed forward into the City, it would have caused the total annihilation of the right wing of the army to which the 17th belong ... The rebels had suddenly and simultaneously opened fire from three masked batteries on the opposite side of the [James] river. The scene was terrific. Shot and shell came much faster than once could count and with good aim, passing in some instances through the tops of tents, then onward to other camps before they found a resting place, or sent their broken fragments broadcast, seeking whom they might devour. It was a renewal of the siege of Yorktown. ..." ... Camp 17th New York near Falmouth, November 26th 1862, " ... the 69th and 79th New York earned a name for their desperate courage at the first Bull Run battle; the 9th or Hawkins Zouaves at Roanoke, and again at Antietam have made their name immortal; at Hanover St. the steady fire of the 25th & 44th and the dashing charge of the 17th display courage unexcelled; in the "bloody week" the 12th, 5th, 13th, 25th, and 44th and many others reflected the highest credit upon the New York soldiery, and in the fatal 2nd Bull Run the 12th, 17th, and 44th withstood the most deadly encounter of the whole field with an energy and desperation that never would have yielded that bloody field had they been properly supported. ..." ... Camp 17th New York, Near Potomac Creek, Va., December 19th 1862, " ... I do not think it should be charged to the gallant Burnside that he has slaughtered a legion of freedom's sons to no purpose; but I do think the military dictator at Washington will have to answer for the lives of thousands if he gave preemptory orders to storm the enemy's works when the commander in the field and all his marshalls in council assembled decided that it would be of no avail. Burnside managed the fight nobly...." ... Oakley Farms, Virginia, March 29, 1863, " ... with Fighting Joseph at the head, they can flog any equal force in front and the combined clan of Copperheads at the North. The army here has improved to an amazing degree within the past two months. ... Gen. Hooker in his zealous efforts to discipline the army has manifested a deep interest in the welfare of his command and is fast winning their esteem and confidence. ..."
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A Well Written New York Soldier's Letter Archive

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $3,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0.00
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Auction closed on Sunday, July 14, 2024.
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