Iron Brigade Grouping Letters and Side Knife of Thomas Seals, 7ª Wisconsin Infantry Witness to General John Reynolds' Death at Gettysburg - Inventory Number: IDE 243
Historic grouping from one of the most famous and hard fighting units of the Civil War, consisting of four letters and a Sheffield dagger from Thomas Seals, a Sergeant in the 7" Wisconsin Infantry of the Iron Brigade. Seals' first letter on patriotic stationery was written on August 26, 1861, from Camp Randall in Madison. He informs his parents in Pennsylvania that he enlisted "to defend the Stars and Stripes of my country," and that "it is every young man's duty to turn out when his country is invaded and maintain its laws." The letter provides valuable insight into the attitude of a volunteer early in the war.
His next letter is dated May 5, 1862, from camp near Fredericksburg. Seals is itching for a fight and believes the war will end shortly. He expects 'to go towards Richmond to see if we can see any of the Sesech and see if there is any fight in them. The report here is that the Rebels had left Yorktown and gone to the south. They will have to go some place before very long for there is no place for them here in Old Virginia. The fall of New Orleans has almost killed the whole Sesech army." His third letter is dated July 19, 1863, from Loudon County Virginia, where he relates to his parents his experience at the Battle of Gettysburg. "I am on picket at present so I thought that I would drop you a few lines to let you know that I have returned to the Sacred Soil of Virginia. I was up to PA on the 1 of July but I can't care about going back on the same mission for we had to pitch in to Lee as soon as we got to Gettysburg. Our brigade was the first to open the ball. Gen Reynolds was killed in front of our regiment he fell almost at the first fire. I wrote you from South Mountain but it was but a few lines now I will write you a few more lines. I tell you that Lee paid dear for all he got on the north side of the Potomac. He left at least 3500 of his men to pay for what he stole. By the time he gets back to Richmond he will have but a small army." Seals didn't have a high opinion of the 149* and 150* Pennsylvania regiments. "All of your PA bucktails got up and flew at the Battle of Gettysburg. I don't want you to think I mean the old bucktails for there is not a man in that regiment that would run it was the 149 & 150 PA Vol. James knows them all of them are cowards."
Seals' last letter is undated but is likely toward the end of the war. "Here the Rebs just about played out so the papers say but I can not vouch for the truth of the matter, but I guess the war will not last but a short time for all the Rebs has run away and left old VA." He continues, "I have one year to stay here & I want to steal 300 handy contrabands in that time from some old Reb...last summer they called me a yankee negro thief, but I did not care for they was telling the truth." Seals' Sheffield dagger is marked "EO. Wostenholm IXI." with two very sharp edges. The blade is mounted in a German silver coffin handle with bone grip panels and a German silver guard. The overall length is 9 ½" and comes with the original leather sheath with German silver throat.
This is a wonderful grouping from a soldier of the famous Iron Brigade and would enhance any Civil War collection.
Inventory Number: IDE 243