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Estimate: $ 3,500 - $ 5,000
AFRICAN-AMERICAN MEDAL OF HONOR WINNER (MILITARY.) FLEETWOOD, CHRISTIAN. Autograph Letter Signed to "Mother Gibbs." Single sheet of 8vo, paper, folded to form four pages, written on all sides in a neat hand; vertical crease where folded. "Camp near Yorktown, March 31st, 1864"
Christian Fleetwood (1840-1914), sergeant major, fourth U.S. Infantry, was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery at the battle of Chapin's Farm, September 29th, 1864, some six months after this letter was written. In it, Fleetwood discusses family and friends back home and tells of the freeing of over 500 "contrabands," personally responsible for 50 of them. Out on a raid: ". . . it was about two miles outside of our pickets, through a very thick woods, I started up one fellow, but he ran like fun, and I couldn't get a shot at him for the trees. . . . I had the pleasure of depriving our southern brethren of over fifty contrabands, four or five horses with carts, wagons etc [?], five or six teams with carts and a considerable part of their good temper. For all of which I am truly grateful." It is clear that Fleetwood enjoyed confronting the enemy. Only eighteen African-American soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor out of nearly 200,000 enlistees. Provenance: Collection of Dorothy Porter-Wesley.
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