[Boston? Washington? 1861]. Bifolium, with pp. manuscript letter. Previously folded. A few small separations along old folds. Light tanning and some dampstaining. About very good. Item #181
A rare Civil War pictorial letter sheet, comprising a bifolium with a bird's eye view of Fortress Monroe and a map of the Chesapeake Bay and James River region around the fort on the first page. The bird's eye view was composed by the Baltimore lithography firm of Sachse & Co., while the map was originally published by Casimir Bohn, maker of many well-known Civil War maps and views. A small number of larger scale productions of these individual illustrations appear in OCLC and in auction records, but this particular confluence of the two images as a letter sheet seems unrecorded.
The manuscript letter itself is from a Union private who has just arrived at Fort Seward in Port Royal, South Carolina, from Fortress Monroe, and is dated December 12, 1861. It reads, in part:
"Well, here we are, way down on South Carolina's sacred soil. I never thought that I would get down here, but here we are. We are on an island. The regiment has been divided, five companys on Eddings Island, the other five on Otter Island. We are on the first named; we can see the other island. There is two forts on this island, the one where we are was called fort Beaureguard but the name has been changed.... When we came ashore, we had [to] wade about knee deep; it was a very warm day, and when we got ashore, some of the boys went in a swimming. I went in last night and left off my drawers and undershirt; the beach here is all white sand, and when we go out in the moon shine, it looks just like old Delmar."
An engaging letter home from the front on an unrecorded pictorial letter sheet.