Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 56

Price Realized: $ 438
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 500 - $ 750
(CIVIL WAR--CONFEDERATE.) [Jones, Richard Whitfield.] Slave-carried Virginia soldier's letter boasting of the victory at Gaines Mill. Autograph Letter Signed as "Richard" and "Dick" to mother [Elizabeth Ann Whitfield Jones] care of grandfather Richard Whitfield (1777-1866) of Richmond. 2 pages, 7 x 5 1/2 inches, on one folding sheet, with address panel on final blank; toned, repairs to separations at folds. Charles City Road, VA, 29 June 1862

Additional Details

Richard Whitfield Jones (1839-1916) was a private in the Virginia Light Artillery. He wrote to his mother boasting of "two hard fought battles and glorious victories, having completely routed the enemy, taken about 5,000 prisoners, several pieces of artillery and small arms. Among the prisoners is Genl. [John F.] Reynolds of the regular army." Reynolds had literally been caught napping after two days of constant fighting when his troops retreated without waking him. Jones added that "it is almost miraculous how our company escaped utter destruction, being exposed to a heavy cross fire from 30 pd rifle Parrott guns and to the heavy fire of infantry, though not a man was hurt and only 1 horse killed."
The circumstances of the letter's delivery are interesting. Jones was stationed just 2 1/2 miles from his grandfather's home in Richmond. He had brought his enslaved servant Grandison with him to the front, so rather than trust the mails, he simply sent Grandison in to Richmond to deliver it. The address panel reads simply "By Grandison," and Jones adds in a postscript "If my boy Grandison delivers this this evening, you will please give him something to eat, and let him stay all night. He is a good boy and has been with me for the last 5 months."