4to. 10 pages [rectos only, though Gould has sketched a map, with troop placements and annotations, on the verso of one leaf], approximately 1200 words. Folded (corners of two leaves chipped, some edgewear). Some browning, but quite legible throughout. Item #53589
After a quarter century, during which time he published a history of his regiment (John M. Gould. History of the First-Tenth-Twenty Ninth Maine Regiment; Portland, 1871), Gould is still searching for the identity of the Confederate regiment that faced his near the East Woods at Antietam. Reporting to Law, the commander of the 4th Alabama Infantry in that bloody battle, Gould relates his findings in excruciating detail, quoting correspondents from a dozen regiments, commanders, junior officers, and non-commissioned officers from both sides, who have given him conflicting reports, almost all of which stand at odds with official published reports, as to the deployment of their units in the chaos of Hood's counter attack against Hooker's corps that blunted the initial Union assault early on the morning of 17 September 1862. _"It is quite clear that Hooker's fragments did not offer very serious resistance to Hood's advance. As far as the East Wood is concerned the 10th Maine was their first real obstacle ... Judge Smith of the 5th Texas writes of the exceedingly severe fight the 1st was having with some Union forces & that both parties were showing their best 'staying qualities.' Then Gen. Hood noticing a force coming out of the East Wood said to Capt. Turner 'You may attend to those people!' I can't understand who this Union force was ... this succession of events is extremely puzzling." Gould closes by asking Law not to refer to printed sources, all of which he was familiar with, but asked for any personal comments on his long commentary. "At present it appears to me that Gordon's Brigade did not follow up Hood sharply or at all & that Ripley & Colquitt replaced Hood but the latter line was considerably south of yours. How does that accord with your idea?" In addition to his history of the regiments he served in during the Civil War, Gould contributed a number of articles to the "National Tribune" relating to Antietam and corresponded with veterans from both sides, as referred to often in this letter, seeking information on various controversies surrounding the battle. He later donated hundreds of these letters to the Antietan Battlefield Board. Detailed letters on major Civil War battles by participants, even those fueled by recollections shaded by decades of discussion and dispute, are uncommon in trade.