24 Autograph Letters Signed, most of H.W. Elsbury, 78 pp, folio, various places including Hickman, KY, Tupelo, MS, Knoxville and Memphis, TN, 1856-1865, INCLUDING A NUMBER WRITTEN FROM THE FIELD, condition good to poor, with foxing, chipped margins, light toning throughout.
A fantastic archive of Civil War era letters, including first hand war accounts by Elsbury, but also including examples from other Kentuckians. From April 28, 1861: "... we lay down at night expecting the troops on us ... Our best young men have gone from hear [sic] to Washington City ... I cannot tell you how I feel ... last night we made reddy [sic] to go to woods ..."; May 29, 1863: "... Vicksburg is reported as being taken there is [sic] six thousand prisoners ..."; January 13, 1864: "I take this opportunity ... to let you know I am yet in the land of the living ... We have had a hard time this winter ... fighting all the time we killed Gen[era]l John Morgan & taking nearly all his men, we also captured his brother Col[o]n[el] Dick Morgan but we received our part in return for we got a glorious whipping ... we retreated 25 miles in one night & lost all our battery & every thing we had & part of our men ..."; October 3, 1864: "... the news you hear about the Rebels taken [sic] Washington & gaining ground is all false ... I dont want the negroes to be set free & left here ..."; September 20, 1865: "... I am a changed man ... the world has lost all of its charms ... why this change I cannot tell even while marching through to North Carolina & Virginia ... tell me of my boy does he talk ..."
Kentucky, a border state, was neutral at the start of the Civil War, but after an unsuccessful attempt by Confederate General Leonidas Polk to forcibly bring the state into the CSA, Kentucky petitioned the Federal government for support and was firmly under the control of the Union.