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 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 03:07 am
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Dale
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HI,

I have just received a box of correspondences from, Louis West Froelick, of N.Y.C.  He was a writer for the N.Y. Sun Newspaper and sent stories home to the paper.  His letters are interesting!  He talks about Bull Run and other tales.  He writes on July 1, 1861, while aboard the PHILADELPHIA " We started in N.Y. on the 21st of April in the steamer CUYLER, our reg. (71st)numbered 1,ooo men and the vessel being very small, not calculated for more than 400, caused us to be well packed together, we had hardly room to turn.  After a pleasant sail we arrived at Annapolis, from there we marched 28 miles and took cars to Washington, being the third regiment that passed through that part of Maryland."

He enlisted into the 71st regiment and was in D co.  He was stationed at Washington Naval Yard and did patrol and ferry service for other troops.  He recalls, " the N.Y. Fire Zoauves were brought by them to Alexandria and his company marched with them to Marshal's House and were before it when Colonel Ellsworth was killed."

There are many stories.  He writes," ..I will commence from the time my 71st left the Naval Yard on Tuesday July 16th,  1861,at noon....  Mother just informed me that she sent you a SUN Paper containing a letter of mine which will carry you to.." five miles beyond Fairfax".  From that point I will continue, "  we remained in this camp three days, it was pleasantly situated on a hill side and our bowers of rails and bushes formed a good protection from the sun; fortunately no rain troubled us while we were there.  On Sunday morning at 2 o'clock we were ordered to fall in for the march.  The day previous, 3 days rations of crackers and salt pork had been put in our haversacks, but no time was allowed for breakfast, or indeed any other meal on that unfortunate day.  At 11:30 the battlefield was reached, the men though encumbered with blankets, haversack, canteen, and ammunition went in with a run.  After maneuvering a short time, the 71st with the R.I, and N.H. reg'ts, took a position on the edge of a hill at the foot of which was a wood in which the enemy was posted.  The battle had  commenced before we entered the field, the last 5 miles of the march had  been through a dense wood through which nothing could be seen, but the thunder of the guns could be heard a long distance from the field and some cannon shot fell near our ranks before we reached it.  as soon as we were in position the fire was opened on the enemy., the men on delivering their fire would fall back from the brow of the hill, lay on the ground and load, then forward and fire: by this means - falling back and laying on the ground, the worst of the fire of the enemy went over our heads.  At one time two Alabama reg'ts attempted to charge up the hill, but we met them with such a galling fire, that the few that did not fall retreated in quick time to the woods.  During the fight the rebels showed an American flag, this caused us to hold our fire for awhile, but,  discovering the trick we peppered them the more for their villany.  ... the story continues..." then Gen Burnside, the commander of our Brigade, rode along the line saying" the day was ours", but soon afterwards a large re-enforcement of the enemy appearing, the order to retreat was given, this was done in good order by our reg'mt and a few others, but many were broken up and mixed together, looking like a mob..."

There is a lot more and I have many questions!

Anyone interested in coming to the aid of a New York novice?  My first post



 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 09:13 am
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Widow
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Hello, Dale, welcome to this discussion board.

You have a real treasure in that collection of letters.  I don't mean financial value.  How exciting to read the real thing, to see 1st Manassas (Bull Run) from the perspective of a simple private.

Please do take care of your collection.  If they are the original documents, I hope you have them insured and stored in a fireproof, waterproof safe.  They MUST not be lost or damaged!

I live in Fairfax County, VA, so I recognize some of the locations your young soldier mentioned en route to the battle.

Marshall's Hotel, in Alexandria, where Col. Elmer Ellsworth was killed by the proprietor, still stands.  It's no longer a hotel, but there is a plaque on the outside wall at the corner, marking the spot.

After the Federals occupied Alexandria, Ellsworth had seen a Confederate flag flying from the roof of the hotel.  He went up and confiscated it.  The hotel proprietor, Mr. Jackson, took offense at the theft of his private property.  In the stairwell, Jackson shot Ellsworth, then one of Ellsworth's men killed Jackson.  It must have been a jumble of cussing, yelling, screaming, hot-n-heavy emotions, smoke, noise, and confusion.

Jackson was one of the first civilians killed in the war.  He was considered a martyr to the Confederate cause, just as Ellsworth was in the North.

Elmer Ellsworth had been a celebrity for several years with his crack precision drill teams decked out in the flashy Zouave garb.  They were popular traveling entertainers.  Lincoln was a fan and friend.  So Ellsworth's death was not ho-hum just another soldier, it was a big shock to the people in the North.

Patty



 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 02:03 pm
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Dale
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Hi Patty,  thanks for your reply.  Yes, these letters are original and numerous.  They won't slip away into oblivion.  What fun reading these first hand accounts!  I have a clear imagined picture in my mind of the men firing from the wooded hillside as Alabama troops rushed the hill.  I can almost smell the powder burning.

Iam hoping to find some more info on the N.Y. Sun and articles that were written by Louis West Froelick.  I took the usual routes via the internet and have had only a modicum of success.  I'll keep on digging. 

As for value, at some point I will have to take a total inventory  and ascribe a value to the collection for insurance purposes, as they do not belong to me.  I was asked to help a friend find out, "see if they are worth anything?"  Also, what should be done with them.. They are obviously valuable in that they are first hand accounts of famous battles and passages.  How does one place a financial value on such ephemera?

Many thanks for your informed reply,

Dale



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 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 04:41 pm
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ole
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Dale: An invaluable treasure. There are numerous places your friend can sell them, but make sure you have copies, and advise him to take his own sweet time in selling them -- these are not ebay material.  Some serious collectors will want them just because. But all of us are anxious to read them.

Ole



 Posted: Thu Nov 30th, 2006 09:37 pm
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Dale
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Hola ole,  Many thanks for your kind reply.  You are absolutely right, this won't be quick.  I haven't stopped reading and surfing since I picked up the letters yesterday around 5p.m.  So many interesting angles from which to research.  The news correspondent angle is compelling.  I have read that big changes were beginning to take place in the way stories were being told in papers in that day.  Froelick talks about how stories are reported and comments about the way other papers report the war.  He speaks of monied interests wanting to "shape" the news to give a good spin.  See new member post for more about that.  I was advised by a kind gentleman to look him up in, GREENWOOD'S ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WAR CORRESPONDENTS,by DAVID COPELAND.   You don't, by chance, have a copy do you?  It can't hurt to try, right?  Off to the library, I guess?  More later

Again, Thanks Dale



 Posted: Fri Dec 1st, 2006 03:56 pm
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ole
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No. I don't have a copy. Have you googled it? May be downloadable. Have you checked ABEbooks.com?



 Posted: Fri Dec 1st, 2006 05:53 pm
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Dale
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Hi, I haven't googled it yet but will.   Thanks for the ABEbooks idea.  Dale



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