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5th Michigan Infantry – Lt. John J. Knox – 3 Letters: May 8th & 10th, 1862 & June 5th, 1862 – Williamsburg, West Point, Va. & Hospital after Being Wounded at Fair Oaks – The Peninsula Campaign
These 3 letters written in ink have nice descriptive content. The first letter from Williamsburg is dated May 8th, 1862 and comes with a beautiful patriotic envelope showing Lady Liberty “Onward”. The second letter is dated May 10th, 1862. The third letter is dated June 5th, 1862.

John J. Knox was born on February 3, 1835 in Onandaga, New York. He became a school teacher and in 1854, received a certificate in Oakland Co. Michigan to teach primary school. He was a teacher in Mississippi in 1860 and was expelled from the state for his Unionist views!

He enlisted in Co. D, 5th Michigan Infantry, as a sergeant on August 8, 1861. He was promoted to 2nd Lt. June 19, 1861 and to 1St Lt. October 11, '61. He was severely wounded at the battle of Fair Oaks on May31, 1862. Adjutant Sept 17, 1862. Resigned, being unfit for battle duty June 23, 1863. Promoted Captain Jan. 25th 1863 in Veteran Reserve Corps.

He served as Provost Marshall at Plattsburgh, New York and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Bvt. Maj. USV March 13, 1865 for "gallant and Meritorious Service" After the war, he served in the Freedmen's Bureau in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. He later worked for the Department of Interior in Indian Territory. Knox died of complications from his war wound on April 19, 1877.


The first letter is headed, “Head Quarters Patrol Guard Williamsburg, Va. Thursday M 8" /62”. Knox is writing home to his wife:

• My own Darling Emma, It is now 11 1/2 O'clock P.M. and I tired and sleepy attempt to write a few lines. Our Brigade furnished 400 men to guard the Prisoners we have taken here and I am in command of the detail from our Regt.”

• “I have been very busy all day and I assure you do not feel like writing — in fact since the Battle I have felt not very well…”

• “during the engagement I was very warm, and lying down after in the ditches it raining so as not to leave a dry thread on me. Left my overcoat back with the Knapsacks. I got completely chilled and expect it will take a week to get over it. We have had orders to have 3 days rations cooked. At once think we will march again tomorrow. I learn our Regt. had a dress parade this afternoon and an order was read from General Berry complimenting us very highly. I suppose the order will be published and you will see it . My Regards to inquiring friends love to you and Good Night, Johnny”

• On the reverse is written, “Sunday morning, all quite – guess we won’t march today.”



The second letter… which was mailed in the same envelope as the first, is headed, “Head Quarters Kearney's Division Bivouacked 7 Miles from West Point Saturday night May 10" 1862”.

• “My Darling Emma, The mail came in tonight and brought me yours of the 2nd Inst. I cannot tell you how much good it does me to hear from you situated as I am now. Enclosed find a few lines that I wrote Thursday night while on Patrol but have had no chance to send it to the Officer since.”

• “Friday (yesterday) we started for Richmond. Have marched about 16 miles in two days and hard work at that.”

• “Never thought that I would come to such a pass as to regard Raw Fat Pork & hard bread as a luxury. I have had nothing else since we started and assure I shall not complain if I can get enough of that, but here after I eat one cracker and a piece of meat I don't know where I am going to get the next.”

• “Capt. Matthews has returned and resumed command. We all agree finely now.”

• “My Brother Walter has gone to the hospital at Ft. Monroe from thence will probably go to Annapolis or Philadelphia.”

• “I am happy to say his wound is not a serious one and that after he gets well it will leave no scars visible and be of no detriment to him. [Walter had been wounded in the Battle of Williamsburg] My Dear you speak of thinking a great deal of the time about me. Well could you see me plodding along with this immense army – you might think my mind was engaged with the prospect before me, not so. I think of you for hours at a time and get so interested that time passes rapidly away.”

• “As yet I have seen no account of any part of the Battle, and I hope I may not, until you shall have recd. my letter written afterwards.”

• “I am somewhat inclined to think the Rebels will not make any stand this side of Richmond. We will get there next week sometime. When we get to the end of our journey and in camp again I will write you longer letters.”

• “They are beating Tattoo. I am sitting on the ground with a candle fastened to a stick. Am writing on my Diary for a Table. No tents so I hope you will excuse everything. With all my love to you, I am your own Johnny”


The third letter is headed, “Judiciary Hospital Washington Thursday June 5, 1862”. Knox had been wounded several days earlier at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia. This letter comes with its original envelope.


• “My Dear Emma, I was brought to this place yesterday in an ambulance and shall not attempt to go further until I get rested and am able to walk. I learn here that Walter has gone home -glad of it but cannot say that I wish I was there 1st because (what) I have now and 2nd I am nothing but a nuisance now to anyone.”

• “My wound is smelling very bad. Still it is doing well, and being nothing but a flesh wound I will get well in less than 30 days.”

• “Good Morning leave off Regt Co. in your address and direct General Hospital Judiciary Square Washington, D.C.”

• “Sydney Walters is wounded, how bad I cannot tell. Capt. Quackenbush & Lt. Hutchins killed. Capt. Traverse, Miller and Wilson wounded Gus Belitz of Clarkston killed.”

• “I think our regiment lost more men than at Williamsburg. I learn through Howell that Matthews and Gregory are at Havre de Grace. They write to Howell. Should thought they would have let me know where they were. Johnny”



3 interesting letters from a wounded Lieut. that would go on to become a Captain and eventually a Major by Brevet.

#L743MI - Price for all 3 letters $395









First Letter:















Second Letter:





























Third Letter:


































Transcription of the 1st letter:

Head Quarters Patrol Guard Williamsburg, Va.
Thursday M 8" /62

My own Darling Emma,

It is now 11 1/2 O'clock P.M. and I tired and sleepy attempt to write a few lines. Our Brigade furnished 400 men to guard the Prisoners we have taken here and I am in command of the detail from our Regt.

I have been very busy all day and I assure you do not feel like writing — in fact since the Battle I have felt not very well during the engagement I was very warm, and lying down after in the ditches it raining so as not to leave a dry thread on me. Left my overcoat back with the Knapsacks. I got completely chilled and expect it will take a week to get over it. We have had orders to have 3 days rations cooked at once. Think we will march again tomorrow. I learn our Regt. had a dress parade this afternoon and an order was read from General Berry complimenting us very highly. I suppose the order will be published and you will see it .

My Regards to inquiring friends love to you and Good Night,

Johnny

On the reverse is written, “Sunday morning, all quite – guess we won’t march today.



Transcription of the 2nd Letter:

Head Quarters Kearney's Division
Bivouacked 7 Miles from West Point
Saturday night May 10" 1862

My Darling Emma,

The mail came in tonight and brought me yours of the 2nd Inst. I cannot tell you how much good it does me to hear from you situated as I am now. Enclosed find a few lines that I wrote Thursday night while on Patrol but have had no chance to send it to the Officer since. Friday (yesterday) we started for Richmond. Have marched about 16 miles in two days and hard work at that. Never thought that I would come to such a pass as to regard Raw Fat Pork & hard bread as a luxury. I have had nothing else since we started and assure I shall not complain if I can get enough of that, but here after I eat one cracker and a piece of meat I don't know where I am going to get the next. Capt. Matthews has returned and resumed command. We all agree finely now. My Brother Walter has gone to the hospital at Ft. Monroe from thence will probably go to Annapolis or Philadelphia. I am happy to say his wound is not a serious one and that after he gets well it will leave no scars visible and be of no detriment to him. My Dear you speak of thinking a great deal of the time about me. Well could you see me plodding along with this immense army – you might think my mind was engaged with the prospect before me, not so. I think of you for hours at a time and get so interested that time passes rapidly away. As yet I have seen no account of any part of the Battle, and I hope I may not, until you shall have recd. my letter written afterwards. I am somewhat inclined to think the Rebels will not make any stand this side of Richmond. We will get there next week sometime. When we get to the end of our journey and in camp again I will write you longer letters. They are beating Tattoo. I am sitting on the ground with a candle fastened to a stick. Am writing on my Diary for a Table. No tents so I hope you will excuse everything.

With all my love to you
I am your own,
Johnny


Transcription of the 3rd letter:

Judiciary Hospital Washington
Thursday June 5, 1862

My Dear Emma,

I was brought to this place yesterday in an ambulance and shall not attempt to go further until I get rested and am able to walk. I learn here that Walter has gone home -glad of it but cannot say that I wish I was there 1st because (what) I have now and 2nd I am nothing but a nuisance now to anyone. My wound is smelling very bad. Still it is doing well, and being nothing but a flesh wound I will get well in less than 30 days. Good Morning leave off Regt Co. in your address and direct General Hospital Judiciary Square Washington, D.C. Do not worry about me, they take good care of me.

Sydney Walters is wounded, how bad I cannot tell. Capt. Quackenbush & Lt. Hutchins killed. Capt. Traverse, Miller and Wilson wounded Gus Belitz of Clarkston killed.

I think our regiment lost more men than at Williamsburg. I learn through Howell that Matthews and Gregory are at Havre de Grace. They write to Howell. Should thought they would have let me know where they were.

Johnny