[Kentucky; Tennessee; Georgia. 1862-1863]. Fourteen manuscript letters, most on small bifolia, two to four pages in length. Previously folded. Light wear at folds. Light tanning; an occasional patch of soiling. Very good. Item #WRCAM54557

A group of fourteen letters written home by Union Pvt. Henry D. Isbell of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery. The letters, addressed to his mother and father as well to his sister and brother-in-law, date from just after his enlistment in August 1862 to the eve of the Battle of Chickamauga in September 1863.

In August and September 1862, just after Henry Isbell enlisted, Battery A of the 1st Ohio Light Artillery was on its way to Louisville, Kentucky, in pursuit of Confederate General Bragg. Isbell's first letter in this collection is written on September 6, 1862, from New Parks Barracks in Louisville to his brother-in-law John Howland. Isbell was very satisfied with his new barracks, where he drilled three times per day, and averred that his squad, "is the best one in the field." Isbell also shared with his brother-in-law the exciting news that Confederate Raider John Hunt Morgan is in the area:

"Morgan took a place called Brandon night before last about twenty-five miles south of here on the rail rode so our communications with the boys is cut off for the present....There is a great deal of excitement here Morgan is reported within twenty miles of here and every one thinks he will take the place with in a week. I hope he will. It is full of secesh."

After a march to Nashville, the 1st Ohio Light Artillery was reviewed by General Rosecrans, who Isbell described in a letter of November 15, 1862, as, "a fine looking man and a fighting one two...." Rosecrans and Isbell's 1st LA were just weeks away from a major engagement, the Battle of Stones River which was fought December 31, 1862, through January 2, 1863. It was one of the costliest battles of the Civil War, and Isbell experienced fierce fighting. In a letter to his sister from Camp Sill in Murfreesboro on February 15, 1863, he described part of the action thus:

"Every gun had left the park before we had started our ceysone and then we stopped out in the open field and was going to hitch our horse on but we could not for theywere within six nods of us and we could not hold our horse after my horse was shot I went to the gun but it had gon up for most of the horses was shot and there was no one there but Lieut. C and L. Coe, John Whitney and one other canoneer...then I went with Lieut. C. to Dick Rogers brass guns and we went to working it as fast as we could, but the horse got shot and the limbe nocked to peaces and we had to leave it...."

Isbell relocated to Nashville in the summer of 1863 as part of the occupation of middle Tennessee, and then moved into Georgia as part of the Chickamauga Campaign. The last letter in this collection was written by Isbell on September 11, 1863, to his mother from "Camp between Lookout and Bear Mountain." One week before the Battle of Chickamauga, Henry hastily informs her that, "We have marched about twenty five miles since I wrote to father and we came twenty of it yesterday the wether is very hot and the dust is about a foot deep. I shall have to write you a short letter this time but I thought you would like to know where we was and that we are all well."

A week later during the battle he was mortally wounded, and died in another month's time. A small but informative archive of letters from an Ohio artilleryman who saw intense action in the Tennessee campaigns and who was killed after just over one year of service.

Price: $3,250.00