52nd Pennsylvania Infantry - Letter Written from Morris Island, S.C. by the Man who Planted the First Flag on the Parapet at Fort Sumter - Captain (later Col. & Brvt.-Gen.) John A. Hennessey

John A. Hennessey fought the entire war with the 52nd Pennsylvania Infantry, starting out as a 2nd Lieutenant and ending up as a Brig. General by Brevet. 

The 52nd Pennsylvania spent much of its time in 1864 on the outskirts of Charleston, S.C.  The letter is headed “Head Quarters 52nd P. V., Morris Island, S.C. Dec. 20th, 1864”.  Hennessey, a Captain at the time, is writing to Col. H. M. Hoyt.  Col. Hoyt had previously been in command on Morris Island and Hennessey is writing to “update” him… “let you know how things are in the Regt. and on the miserable barren god-forsaken island.  Hennessey goes on to state that there has been “much trouble in the regt. among some of the officers in regard to Genl. Order 153.”  This General Order is found on the Internet and we will include a copy.  It basically states that the 52nd Penn. under Col. Hoyt failed in an attempt to take James Island in a bayonet attack.  Hennessey consoles Hoyt stating that “some of the officers mentioned by name have never been known to flinch from duty, and that he should not worry too much about it.” 

Hennessey goes on to state the fine appearance of the 52nd after a recent inspection, but that as a regiment they have been “doomed”.  He asks the Colonel to help him procure several appointments and commissions and the need for about 200 more men.  He asks for himself the rank of Major… and according to the Database received it on January 5th, 1865. 

The letter is in fine condition.  An interesting letter from the officer who played a significant role in the retaking of Fort Sumter.

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Below photo taken from:  Here