Apr 15, 2021 - Sale 2564

Sale 2564 - Lot 191

Price Realized: $ 406
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 600 - $ 900
(CIVIL WAR--NEW YORK.) George K. Collins. Unpublished novel, "The Cracker Line in the Mountains," based on his Civil War service. 6 illustrations bound in (a photostat engraving and 5 postcards), 2 of them with manuscript caption labels. [2], 165 typescript leaves with occasional manuscript corrections. 4to, contemporary buckram, minimal wear; minimal wear to contents. Np, circa 1910

Additional Details

George Knapp Collins (1837-1931) was raised in Syracuse, NY and spent most of the war with the 149th New York Infantry. After the war he was a prolific author of local and military history. This unpublished novel was apparently his only venture into fiction, but he did not venture far. Pages 77 to 158 are dedicated to the central character's military service as colonel of a regiment much like the author's own. He is wounded at Gettysburg, and then rejoins his regiment to aid in the relief of the besieged Union forces at Chattanooga, setting up the titular "Cracker Line" to deliver supplies through the mountains. He sends detailed reports back to his mother, who reads them aloud at a local literary society (pages 106-158). These passages cross the line into military history, offering numerous details of the Chattanooga Campaign, including the battles of Wauhatchie, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. The regiment is unnamed, but belongs to the New York Brigade in the 12th Army Corps--not coincidentally the same brigade in which Collins's regiment served.

The novel was likely written circa 1902-1912, as it is dedicated to his grandchildren William Wolcott Wiard (born 1902) and Elizabeth Sumner Teall (born 1900), but not his grandson Ralph Lee Irish (born 1912). It was likely typed and compiled around the same date; one of the laid-in postcards is used and bears a 1910 postmark.

With--a printed book by the same author, "An Abbreviated Account of Certain Men of Onondaga County who did Service in the War of 1861-65 in the 149th New York Volunteer Regiment Infantry." Plates, 53 pages. 8vo, publisher's cloth, minor dampstaining. Features a short biography and photograph of Collins, as well as narratives of several compatriots. 2 in OCLC. Syracuse, NY, 1928.