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Price Realized: $31,200 With Buyer's Premium Show Hammer Price
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Sale 2310 Lot 87
"THE WHOLE OF HIS SCALP WAS TAKEN OFF, LEAVING THE SCULL ENTIRELY BARE" (CIVIL WAR.) Letters, diaries, and regimental histories of Julius Hall and Jared Kimberly of the 1st California Regiment. 51 items (0.7 linear feet): 17 letters from Julius C. Hall to siblings while in service, March 1862 to October 1864 * 8 letters from Jared Kimberly to Henry and Atwater Hall, April 1862 to October 1863 * 5 letters received by Hall from family members, 1862-1864 * Kimberly's manuscript diary, 1861-1864, 173 pages * 4 printed and manuscript regimental histories by Hall and others * the pocket bible carried by Hall during his service * an unidentified daguerreotype * and other related papers; various conditions. Vp, 1861-1913
Estimate $12,000 - 18,000
Julius C. Hall (1840-1913) and his friend Jared T. Kimberly (1840-1917) grew up together in rural Wallingford, CT and went to California to seek their fortunes during the early days of the Civil War. Hiking through the wilderness from San Francisco to Oregon, they nearly lost their lives in an Indian attack. They enlisted together in Company K of the 1st California Infantry Regiment, which embarked on an epic march from San Francisco to Fort Craig in New Mexico. They encountered the occasional Confederate sympathizer, but more often Apaches and Navajos who were resisting American encroachment into their territory.
Hall and Kimberly's adventure is thoroughly documented in this archive. Hall's second letter tells the story of how his small mining party was attacked by Paiutes north of San Francisco: "There were onely five men inside and it is a great wonder they wer not all killed, as there was 50 or 100 of the diggers" (4 April 1862). In another instance, "a soldier was killed while hunting near Fort West by the Indians. The Indians consealed themselves in ambush, and by imitating the whistle of a wild turkey they decoyed him into their trap and then filled him full of arrows, killing him instantly" (18 December 1863). Hall also describes survivors of an ambushed wagon train: "The two boys who were scalped alive were still living when we passed F L on our return, and one of them had nearly recovered, but probaly life to him will only be a burden as some of our boys who saw him said he was a horrible sight, as the whole of his scalp was taken off, leaving the scull entirely bare" (15 October 1864). By 1864, the army was driving the Navajos to desperation: "Their crops were destroyed by the expedition under Carson last fall. At the time a great many were saying that Carson was doing nothing becaus he did not kill the Indians, but now we can see the fruits of his labors. . . . The expedition found a number of Indians starved or froze to death, and in a number of instances they found a mother with an infant in her arms, both dead" (7 February 1864).
Kimberly's letters are more literate than Hall's, and full of grand patriotic rhetoric. On 1 July 1863, he described how a captain took his wife bathing at a hot spring, accompanied by 6 soldiers as an escort: "It was while they were bathing in these springs that the Indians creeped up slyly and fired upon them, wounding the Capt., but not serious. . . . The Indians had taken his wife and the other women prisoners. The soldiers at once persued them, and the Indians perceiving that they would be soon overtaken if they didn't travel with a greater velocity, at once began to dispatch the women prisoners by stabbing them with lances." After a mail wagon was raided, the Indians apparently had little use for the contents, as Kimberly describes "a ten dollar greenback which one of the villains had used for a purpose which I have no need to mention." Finally, he describes the fate of a soldier's body: "The Indians had dug it up, and in a horrible condition, they having cut off his head and taken the heart out and split his back the entire length for the purpose of getting the sinews, which they say make excellent bow strings." Kimberly concludes: "There is only one course to pursue with these Indians, and that is to blot every one from the face of the earth. . . . I expect that an expedition will start out soon under the command of Kit Carson, who I think will give the red devils what they can't buy."
Kimberly's manuscript diary transcript, covering both their California adventures and much of the war years, is another highlight. Hall apparently acquired Kimberly's diary after the war, and acquired Kimberly's 8 letters from his brothers, all used as source material by Hall for several attempted histories of the regiment, although he only published an 1887 newspaper article. The collection also includes the scarce 1885 company history by Lieutenant George Pettis, "Frontier Service During the Rebellion," warmly inscribed to Hall.
After returning to Wallingford, Hall became a butcher, and Kimberly a dentist. Provenance: presumably inherited by Hall's only child, Mabel C. Hall (1878-1957), who died unmarried; possibly thence to her first cousin Frederick Markham (1865-1960); later owned by Markham's grandson Theodore B. Smith of Hamden, CT per undated ownership inscriptions. An extensive inventory and abstract of the collection is available upon request.Price Realized (with Buyer's Premium) $31,200