[1862 Civil War Letter by Major Ebenezer Baldwin Andrews, 36th Ohio Infantry, with Battle Content and Observations on His Regiment and the Army of the Potomac].
Autograph Letter by Major Ebenezer Baldwin Andrews (1821–1880) of the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment.
Andrews discusses the defeat of Confederate forces under General Henry Heth at the Battle of Lewisburg (West Virginia) in May 1862 and provides insights into the organization of the Army of the Potomac. Less than two weeks after this letter was written—after the Battle of Antietam on September 17, 1862, Andrews was promoted to Colonel of the regiment.
A clergyman before the war, Andrews writes to a friend and former deacon. Although the letter is not signed, Andrews appended to it a two-page autobiography. He writes as a seasoned veteran, a soldier (and clergyman) who knows that death is a present reality:
How can a soldier give an account of his life when any day he may lose it? Still for a long time I have been hoping to send you the few statistics you desire but army life has been most unpropitious to the hope. I have been in the army since the 28th July 1861. I have been in the field all the time… I was in the battle of Lewisburg where 1200 of us whipped General Heath [Heth] with 3000 men, 4 pieces of artillery, capturing the latter with 100 prisoners…killed 70, wounded 180 & caused 500 to desert, drove the enemy from the field in utter rout &c &c a very prety & appetizing before-breakfast work. (p)
Andrews describes the regiment’s duties in Washington, training under the command of General John Pope. Andrews notes that Pope’s Inspector General called the 36th Ohio “...the best in the service.” He continues on about “Our Potomac Army:”
It is my daily prayer that the Lord will raise us up a leader, a Washington for us. No such man has as yet appeared. I am disposed to think as well as Gen. [Nathaniel P.] Banks as any Maj Genl we have… I hear the New England troops spoken well off [of], Penn & N. York troops are at a discount but for plucky fighting give me Western troops the Western cross between the Yankee & Backwoodsman. (p)
Andrews’ autobiographical essay outlines his birth and family in Connecticut, his education at Marietta College in Ohio and at Princeton, and his early years in ministry in Massachusetts and Connecticut. In 1851, he accepted a professorship at Marietta College. Though he does not write here about his academic work at Marietta, Andrews was elected to the chair of natural science and became a well-known geologist and author of a geology textbook, An Elementary Geology, Designed especially for the Interior States (1878) and a contributor to Geological Survey of Ohio (1870).
Description: [1862 Civil War Letter by Major Ebenezer Baldwin Andrews, 36th Ohio Infantry, with Battle Content and Observations on His Regiment and the Army of the Potomac].
Willard’s Hotel. Washington D.C. September 6, 1862. pp. Autograph Letter. Quarto. Bifolium. Folds; light toning; very good condition.
Ref. History of Washington County, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Marietta, (1881) 1976), pp242ff.