"THE REBELS HAD CROSSED THE RIVER BY POINT OF ROCKS AND WERE ON THE MARYLAND SIDE, HAVING ABOUT 2000 CAVALRY…": 1862 CIVIL WAR DIARY OF BENJAMIN C. LINCOLN, OFFICER IN THE 2ND U.S. COLORED TROOPS, DESCRIBING JEB STUART'S CHAMBERSBURG RAID AND GENERAL LEE'S ARLINGTON HOUSE
(CIVIL WAR) LINCOLN, Benjamin C. Civil War Diary, with related archive of letters and documents. No place, 1861-64. Diary 12mo, saddle-stitched, original parchment wrappers, containing 20 leaves with handwritten entries on 9 leaves for 18 pages, dated August 9, 1862-December 26, 1862, with a further 9 pages of financial notations, signed "Benj. C. Lincoln, Co. G. 39th Mass Vols" on front cover. Together with two autograph letters signed "Benj C. Lincoln" and "Benny," 11 pages total, various sizes, Edwards Ferry Maryland and Camp Casey, Va., October 3 and November 2, 1862; an autograph letter (unsigned), two pages, Key West, July 29, 1864; as well as four letters and documents addressed to Lincoln, August 15, 1864-February 27, 1865. $8000.
Interesting 1862 Civil War diary and related papers of Union officer and abolitionist Benjamin C. Lincoln, who would become an officer in the 2nd United States Colored Troops, in which he describes the captured home of Robert E. Lee and Jeb Stuart's Chambersburg Raid.
A superb collection related to the career of Benjamin C. Lincoln (1840-65) who enlisted in the 39th Massachusetts on August 9, 1862, and served that body as a clerk until May, 1863, when he was detached to Washington to work on the staff of General John Henry Martindale. A fervent abolitionist, Lincoln accepted a commission in the 2nd Regiment of the United States Colored Troops in the summer of 1863 serving first near New Orleans and later in Key West, Florida. Lincoln died of wounds received at the Battle of Natural Bridge in March, 1865.
Of particular interest is Lincoln's diary that he began the day he enlisted in the 39th Massachusetts through December, 1862. Lincoln describes his journey from Boston to Washington, first aboard a steamer that landed at Jersey City and then by rail to the capital. South of Philadelphia, Lincoln observed that the road was guarded by "pickets… stationed all the way to Washinton… after we passed Baltimore the guards were much nearer together and there were a larger number at Philadelphia and all along the route to Baltimore…" The regiment received enthusiastic welcomes from well-wishers save for Baltimore where "the welcome was cold, and there were rumors that several soldiers had been poisoned the night before in other regiments. And soon after it was stated that some of our own men went dead from the same cause…"
While in Washington, Lincoln managed some time to take in the sights. Walking around Arlington he "saw Arlington house, the residence formerly of the rebel General Lee, situated near a large oak forest, with small houses around it for negroes and commanding a fine prospect of Washington & the Potomac. The house is now used by Gen Heintzleman as his head-quarters." Later in October, Lincoln's regiment was stationed approximately 20 miles up the Potomac from Washington, when they were ordered to march on an alarm after Stuart's Cavalry crossed the river into Maryland (known today as the Chambersburg Raid): "the rebels had crossed the river by Point of Rocks [Maryland] and were on the Maryland side, having about 2,000 cavalry, some artillery & infantry, a body also crossed below at Seneca. Our regiment was immediately formed and marched up the river… but as the firing had ceased soon returned… I afterwards ascertained were 3,000 in number under command of Stuart." Stuart's mission, to secure fresh horses, arms, and other supplies, also netted about 30 civilian officials to be used for exchange of captured Confederates. Stuart also managed to destroy an important rail crossing near Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
Some light wear to spine of diary, rear pastedown lifted, Lincoln's entries clean, clearly legible and fine. Expected mailing folds and light toning to remaining items; overall, excellent condition.