[Lynbrook, New York: Harley Bronson Cooper, ca. 1957].
Unpublished. Paper print photograph portrait inserted. Typescript, 171 pp., rectos only. 1 vols. 4to. Black buckram, some pencil annotations in margins. Fine. Item #303244
Richly detailed narrative account of the Civil War experiences of Irving Bronson [born ca. 1843], 107th New York Volunteers, Company C, from his enlistment at Elmira 29 July 1862 through his mustering out in June 1865. These reminiscences were addressed as letters to his nephew, circa 1906 (from internal evidence).
Bronson was promoted to first lieutenant in April 1863 after Chancellorsville, and was in effective command of his company for more than a year although his rank of captain was not recognized. He was at Spanglers Spring during Gettysburg and listened to the Union response to Pickett’s charge (“a long continuous discharge of musketry”) but did not take part. He saw action during the campaign for Atlanta, from Resaca (15 May 1864) through the taking of the city (22 July); the siege of Savannah; the northward march chasing Joe Wheeler through the Carolinas, including the capture through bluffing of Chesterfield Court House, and the battle for Averysboro; at Goldsboro, N.C., they learned of the Fall of Richmond, and the regiment was at Smithfield when news of the surrender reached them. Barrels of applejack were broached in celebration, cut short when they learned of Lincoln’s assassination. Bronson described parades in Washington and seeing Grant receive Sherman (who refused to shake hands with Stanton). The company returned to Elmira in early June 1865.
The narrative includes much detail on foraging, night riding after bushwhackers, personalities in the company, burning out the house of a Rebel congressman, looting, and Bronson signing (“the two-handed alphabet”) to the children of an asylum for the deaf they entered after the end of hostilities.
This typescript includes a transcript of a letter from historian Bruce Catton at American Heritage noting that he read the memoir with interest; a copy of the typescript is recorded in the Bruce Catton Papers at the Citadel.
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