Another historical mystery found its way into my little corner of Civil War cyberspace recently. Gary Skinner sent along a beautifully preserved letter recently for use on my Siege of Petersburg site. The letter, written on August 4, 1864 and describing the Battle of the Crater, is a lengthy one. The mystery concerns exactly WHO wrote it.
We know the following:
- The letter writer was writing to a Miss Millie Stevens from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. It appears her father (brother, uncle?) was S. Stevens from Chelmsford.
- The letter writer was a member of the 11th Massachusetts Battery
- The letter writer does not appear to be an officer of the regiment based on clues in the letter
- The letter writer was taking care of Captain Edward J. Jones, who was suffering from a recurring fever
- The letter writer’s signature is displayed below and on the letter’s permanent page:
So what do you think? Who was this man? What was his rank? Is the signature above a first name, a last name, a nickname, or something else? Let’s see if the combined brainpower of all you readers out there can figure this one out. Feel free to comment below or use the contact form if you want to send me an attachment to back up your assertions.