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New York Soldier Tells His Sister They Plan to Finish the War Soon
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Those four legged Grey backs have about played out but there is a plenty of two legged ones here yet....We are going to try & Cleanse out these Johneys this summer & come home next winter

RICHARD SLADE. Autograph Letter Signed, to his sister Mary A. Slade, March 10, 1865, 3 pp.

Inventory #21265.11       Price: $150

Complete Transcript

                                 March 10th/65

Sister Mary

            I received a letter from you to day & as I have nothing to do I will answer it I sent you a knife in a paper a splendid one that I got of a Reb he said he gave $5 Dollars for it in Richmond I hope you will get it if you don’t you can make such a bargain with George as you like I also sent 300 to get George a pair of Boots I am with Charles I am at Head Quarters & he is at the Regt We went to see Josh yesterday he is all right & comfortable he thinks he wont come home he sais he don’t wont to his time is out in six months It is the rainyest <2> weather here that I ever saw it has rained 7 days steady Those four legged Grey backs have about played out but there is a plenty of two legged ones here yet & we expect every day to have a turn with them I don’t care how soon for my part It is so awful mudy now that we cant ? Tell Georgy that he can go over to Iduma when the weather gets fine & stay day or two I expect Clark will come home soon & we are going to send our money home by him I got a letter from Marinda yesterday She says she had not had but one from me since I come back & I have written her a half a dozen or more & one I sent money in to buy Walter <3> a pair of shoes If you get the paper & Georgy gets the letter with the money in Write & let me know I am glad Orville is going to stay on the farm read this writing if you can I cant after it gets cold We are going to try & Cleanse out these Johneys this summer & come home next winter Charles has the blues once in a while but I feel contented I have got rather a soft thing on the rest of the boys I don’t have any picket or guard duty to do & I dont have to touch a gun only once a month on inspection I guess I will close by bidding you good Bye                     R. Slade

Historical Background

Addison Richard Slade joined Company E of the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery in January 1864. In this letter, he wrote home to his younger sister Mary and discussed brothers Joshua (1843-) and Charles (1840-1930), both in the army with him. Joshua Slade was a private in Company G of the 152nd New York Volunteer Infantry, and Charles Slade was a private in Company E of the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery. A month after Richard Slade wrote this letter, his brother Charles was wounded near Amelia Springs, Virginia, but all three brothers returned home. His letter also mentions their sister Marinda (1834-), and their brother Orville (1830-1903), who stayed at home to help on the farm.

The 2nd New York Heavy Artillery participated in the siege of Petersburg, Virginia, from June 1864 to April 1865. By the time Slade wrote this letter, the Union siege lines extended far south and west of Petersburg. On March 25, Confederates briefly captured Union Fort Stedman east of Petersburg, but Union forces quickly counterattacked causing four times as many Confederate casualties. On April 1, 1865, Union forces attacked the far right flank of Lee’s army defending the pivotal South Side Railroad, one of the last Confederate supply lines to the besieged city. With victory there, General Ulysses S. Grant ordered an attack along the entire Confederate line on April 2, which led to the flight of the remnants of Lee’s army and the surrender of Petersburg on April 3, and of Richmond later that same day. Despite Slade’s prediction that it would take the summer to “Cleanse out these Johneys,” Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia surrendered on April 9, thirty days after Slade penned this letter.

Addison Richard Slade (1832-1901) was born in Butternuts, New York. He married Betsey, and they had two sons, George born in 1856, and Walter born in 1863, before Betsey died in October 1863. In 1860, Slade was a day laborer in Butternuts, and owned $200 in real property. He enlisted as a private in Company E of the 2nd New York Heavy Artillery in January 1864, at Unadilla, New York. He was wounded on May 19, 1864, at Spotsylvania, Virginia. He was discharged with his company in September 1865. By 1870, he had remarried to Louisa, with whom he had at least one daughter in 1869. They lived in Unadilla, where Slade was a farmer with $4,000 in real property.

Mary A. Slade (1848-1894) was born in Butternutts, New York, and was the youngest of eight siblings born to Alfred and Eliza Slade of Otsego County, New York. She later married Ross M. Hall.


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