Civil War Archive to Go on Saletags: Civil War, African American history
Forgotten archives related to black Civil War soldiers are coming on the market in the next few weeks.
On Feb. 5, James D. Julia Auctioneers in Fairfield, Me., will offer two batches of paperwork and artifacts from Luis F. Emilio, a white Army captain from Massachusetts who led African-American troops. His vivid 1890s memoir, “A Brave Black Regiment: History of the Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1863-1865,” details the Army’s casualties as storms descended on South Carolina swamps, food supplies dwindled, and petty thieves stole from corpses on battlefields.
But when he enlisted, as a teenager, he was optimistic. “The sailing was fine and sea smooth,” he wrote to his parents, just after the regiment set off from Boston on a steamer with private staterooms for the officers. “The War will be a short one,” he predicted to his parents.
Descendants had long preserved the material, and two unnamed current owners, who are unrelated to the Emilio family, have consigned the trove to the Julia sale. The two auction lots (estimated between $40,000 and $120,000 each) contain Captain Emilio’s stirrups, diaries, medals, newspaper clippings, leather documents box, hand-drawn battlefield maps and uniform trim made of palm fronds harvested in South Carolina....
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