Appomattox Parole, Petersburg Railroad Pass of A.C. Brown, 34th Va. Inf.
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Appomattox Parole, Petersburg Railroad Pass of A.C. Brown, 34th Va. Inf.

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Appomattox Parole, Petersburg Railroad Pass of A.C. Brown, 34th Va. Inf. – Alexander Coles Brown was a private in the 34th Va. Infantry. The 34th Virginia was organized in May 1862, with men from Norfolk, Richmond, and Yorktown, and the counties of Gloucester, Mecklenburg, Bedford, Greene, and King and Queen. For almost two years the unit served as heavy artillery attached to the Department of Richmond and was known as the 4th Heavy Artillery. In May, 1864, it was assigned to Wise’s Brigade as infantry. It participated in the long Petersburg siege, including the Battle of the Crater; the 34th also saw action in various conflicts prior to its surrender at Appomattox, inclduing the Battle of Sailor’s Creek. It contained 466 effectives in June, 1862, and surrendered 14 officers and 210 men. The field officers were Colonel John T. Goode, Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Harrison, and Major John R. Bagby.

Accompanying the parole, railroad pass and cabinet card photo of Private Brown, is a copy of a typed transcript of Brown’s war time experiences, written by him in 1922. In this transcript, Brown states that he left his home, “Groomsville”, in the Gloucester Point area of Virginia, in the late summer of 1862, at the age of 16. Initially rejected for service in the Confederate Army because of his youth, Brown was eventually accepted, in September of 1862, into Co. A of the 34th Va. Regiment, Wise’s Brigade, Heavy Artillery. After a year stationed at Chaffin’s Bluff, just south of Richmond, on the James River, the 34th went south, under General Beauregard, to South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, returning to Petersburg, at the onset of the long siege. The 34th would now be under the command of Gen. A.P. Hill. During their service in Petersburg, the 34th participated in the Battle of the Crater and Hatcher’s Run; during the course of the latter, Brown’s Uncle, Lt. Robert D. Miller, was killed, and his father was captured by Federal troops and sent to Point Lookout. After the evacuation of Petersburg, the 34th Va. would participate in the Battle of Sailor’s Creek and surrender at Appomattox. Private Brown states that he listened to Gen. Gordon read Gen. R.E. Lee’s Farewell Address.

After A.C. Coles surrendered, along with his comrades, at Appomattox and was paroled, he apparently made his way to Petersburg, took the U.S. Military Railroad to City Point, where he obtained boat passage to his home near Gloucester and Yorktown.

Private Coles’ parole is a fine example of a rare and poignant document; it remains in excellent condition; his railroad pass, an extremely rare document, has been taped along several areas, mostly along old fold lines. Under the care of a proper paper conservator, the tape can be readily removed; (we can provide the name of a top notch, Virginia conservator, to the next owner).

As mentioned, the parole and rail pass are accompanied by a post-war cabinet card, albumen of Alexander Coles, that appears to date from the 1870s. We obtained this grouping directly from the great, great niece of Private A.C. Brown. SOLD

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