Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 78

Price Realized: $ 406
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
" I COULD HAVE TOUCHED HIM WITH MY BAYONET. HOW WE DID CHEER HIM! " (CIVIL WAR--MASSACHUSETTS.) Stone, James Kent. Letter describing a visit by Lincoln to the famed 2nd Massachusetts Infantry. Autograph Letter Signed as "Kent" to his mother. 8 pages, 8 x 5 1/4 inches, on 2 folding sheets; folds, minimal wear. With stamped and postmarked envelope addressed to Mrs. Stone care of the Rev. John S. Stone. Camp on Maryland Heights, MD, 9 October 1862

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James Kent Stone (1840-1921) was a clerk in the 2nd Massachusetts Infantry, which had taken heavy losses at Antietam the previous month. While recuperating on the heights overlooking Harper's Ferry, the regiment was cheered by a visitor: "On another memorable occasion we were still more excited by a visit from Pres. Lincoln, with some of his chief generals. It seemed so funny to be standing there on review with my rifle presented, & have the good old president ride smiling along so close that I could have touched him with my bayonet. How we did cheer him! And how our company did want to cheer him again, as we heard one of the staff (Gen. Sedgwick) remark in passing 'These are soldiers. This is the 2nd Mass, that has saved Banks so many times, the best regt. in the service!'" Lincoln and General Sumner reviewed the troops at Maryland Heights on 2 October during a 4-day tour of the front. Stone adds regretfully that the regiment had lost most of its best officers to death or promotions, and "in their places we have only young boys who, a few days ago, were lieutenants," and notes somberly "how our regt. has been reduced--it left Boston with 980 rank & file, it has since received 219 recruits, & yet now we have but 319 men in all." He also describes a novel sight: "Now & then we spy a balloon, ascending from the valley of the Shenandoah to reconnoitre the position of the rebels. The rebels are near us still."
Stone, the son of a Presbyterian minister from Brookline, MA, became notable after the war as one of the most prominent converts to Catholicism of his day, assuming the name Father Fidelis of the Cross.