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Estimate: $ 400 - $ 600
(RECONSTRUCTION.) Letters by a Union occupation soldier, one describing the infamous New Orleans Massacre of 1866. 5 Autograph Letters Signed by John Stagenwalt of the 1st United States Infantry to father-in-law John Sheaffer of Bareville, Leacock Township, PA; moderate wear and dampstaining. With 6 stamped envelopes bearing New Orleans postmarks. New Orleans, LA, 1866-68
On 30 July 1866, a constitutional convention was held in New Orleans, which was considering establishing voting rights for the state's Black citizens. A mob composed mainly of ex-Confederate soldiers descended on Black marchers and killed approximately 50 of them. The massacre was a national scandal and helped establish firmer Reconstruction policies throughout the south. These letters were written by a young white soldier serving in the Union occupation. On the day of the massacre, Stagenwalt writes "There is an ellection in New Orleans today. There is a great ecsitement prevails throughout camp about the result of the ellection." He elaborates in another letter on 21 August: "I have just returned to Jackson Barricks from the city of New Orleans. . . . Our regiment was there 2 weeks on the account of the late riot which took place in that city. . . . The Negros wanted to vote and the white citizens of that place would not let them, and thus commenced the riot. They fought very hard. Our regiment was ordered to disperse the rioters, of which we done at the point of the bayonet. There was 100 Negroes killed, 150 taken into custody, 90 white citizens killed, almost the same number wounded."
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