Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 44

Price Realized: $ 344
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Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(CIVIL WAR.) Sofford, Charles B. A captain of the 107th United States Colored Troops describes a brief but harrowing skirmish. 4 pages, 12 3/4 x 7 1/2 inches, on one folding sheet; separations at folds, otherwise minor wear. With typed transcript. Faison's Station, NC, 30 March 1865

Additional Details

Charles B. Sofford or Safford (1833-1868) of Illinois was a captain in the 107th United States Colored Troops when he wrote this letter. The regiment had been active in North Carolina for several months and was about to march on Raleigh as the war drew to a close. He writes "Our army burnt, destroyed and captured everything along the way that they felt inclined to. The rebels looked at us as sour as could well be imagined. They have any amount of provisions &c hid in the ground for the use of the rebel army. . . . Our boys understand the business and go right to digging instead of looking over the houses. In one man's yard they found a hundred barrels of ham, any amount of molasses, and other provisions buried very nicely." The regiment crossed paths with Sherman's army, which reported that they had "burnt and destroyed everything as they went through South Carolina and they have not drawn any government rations for over two months but have lived off the country, and they certainly have not suffered with hunger."
Much of the letter describes a difficult skirmish on 25 March, when Safford's company unexpectedly found themselves flanked by a larger Confederate force: "This was a pretty fix, only 50 men of us to hold a post against a regiment (or as we afterwards found, against a brigade) with orders to hold it as long as possible. . . . The rebs opened on our front, right, and left, so there was no other way out, but to retreat to the picket lines. The rebels had several pieces of artillery and they riddled my entrenched reserve pretty suddenly. If I had staid on the post 5 minutes longer I have no doubt we should all have been gobbled. As it was, we lost several killed and wounded."