2024-01 Raynors Americana Auction
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/20/2024
The following letter was written by William T. Lewis (1839-Aft1865), the son of Peter Lewis (b. 1815) and Emeline E. Lewis (1817-1865), who grew up a free black man in Cayutaville-a small hamlet between Smith Valley and Catharine in the southeast corner of Hector Township in Schuyler county, New York. In the 1860 US Census, the Lewis family was enumerated in Odessa, William's father in his mid-40's and employed as a farm hand, and 21 year-old William the oldest of three children. Unfortunately I cannot find any record of William's service during the war-if in fact he was drafted. He may not have been and William's enrollment may have been an error as blacks were not considered citizens and therefore not subject to the draft. The 4pp letter is datelined, Jacksonville, Tompkins county, New York, Sunday, August 9, 1863, to his parents with patriotic UNION cover. In part, "I must write you some of our victories of the last month. July 3rd the victory of Gettysburg, rebel loss in killed & wounded & prisoners 33,000. July 4, capture of Vicksburg with 31,000 prisoners, 220 guns & 70,000 small arms. July 4, victory of Helena, Arkansas, the rebels losing 2,700 killed, wounded & prisoners. July 6, defeat of Stuart by Buford at Hanover with loss of 1,000 prisoners. July 8, capture of Port Hudson 7,000 prisoners & numerous cannon & small arms & several other victories including in all 28 successful contests with a loss to the enemy of more than 300 guns & 80,000 prisoners. The Mississippi is open from its sources to the gulf. The rebels expelled from nearly all Tennessee & Mississippi ... I received my notice on Monday morning. I have to appear on or before the 2nd of September or just as I am a mind to. As I have plenty of paper & time, I will write you my notice. So here it is. 'Notice. Any person drafted & notified may on or before the day fixed for his appearance before the Any person failing to report in person or by substitute or to furnish receipt of payment will be treated as a deserter and arrested as such. ...' ... The President has issued a Proclamation declaring that colored soldiers must be protected. If the rebels take them prisoners, they must treat them as such. I have come to the conclusion that I had better go to Dixie than to pay 300 dollars. The belief is now that there won't be much fighting for they are about whipped & I shall go unless you think that I had better pay the money. I think it is best for me to go. I haven't paper to explain all I should like to write so that I can get it by the first of next week. I shall be home a week before I go. - W. T. Lewis
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This Free Blackman Writes of Being Drafted

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $375.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $715.00
Estimate: $750 - $1,000
Auction closed on Sunday, January 21, 2024.
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