Donations for the letter should be made by check to the Morgan Carter Letter Fund and sent to P. O. Box 404, Madison, IN 47250 or dropped off at the Jefferson County Historical Society office, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Donations for the letter should be made by check to the Morgan Carter Letter Fund and sent to P. O. Box 404, Madison, IN 47250 or dropped off at the Jefferson County Historical Society office, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
A letter written by a black Civil War soldier from Madison will reach the auction floor on Thursday, and to bring the letter home, a group of local residents has extended a fundraising campaign into next week.

Morgan W. Carter, who was a sergeant in the U.S. Colored Troops, wrote the letter to a "Charles" in December 1864.

In the letter, Carter describes the Battle of the Crater during the Siege of Petersburg and gives an impassioned description of his willingness to fight and die for emancipation.

Morgan W. Carter is the son of John Carter, a well-known Madison abolitionists who was involved in the Underground Railroad.

The document will be sold at auction on Thursday through Swann Auction Galleries in New York City. The document's value is now estimated at $10,000 to $15,000.

Fundraiser organizers Camille Fife, city preservation planner, and Jan Vetrhus, president of the Cornerstone Society, said several donations have come in since the effort began last week, but they added that more donations are still needed to bring the document back to Madison.

The fundraiser will be extended to 5 p.m. on Monday.

Donations for the letter should be made by check to the Morgan Carter Letter Fund and sent to P. O. Box 404, Madison, IN 47250 or dropped off at the Jefferson County Historical Society office, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If adequate funds are raised to purchase the document, plans call for it to be gifted to the permanent collection of the Jefferson County Historical Society.

The donations will go toward obtaining the letter and not to the Jefferson County Historical Society. If Madison's bid is not successful, the checks will be returned uncashed.

Morgan W. Carter had been mostly unknown in Madison until his letter surfaced early this month. Before that, the document had spent 50 years in a private collection.

Since beginning the research for the project, Fife, Vetrhus and other researchers have uncovered more information on Carter in the form of an excerpt from a private letter printed in The Madison Daily Eventing Courier on July 14, 1864.

The letter was written while Carter was in Virginia on June 25, 1864, and serves almost as a prequel to Carter's account at Petersburg, as it was written six months prior and mentions his journey to Petersburg.

In the earlier letter, Carter describes another battle, a fellow Madison soldier from his all-black infantry and explains his promotion to sergeant.

Carter wrote that "a number of the brave boys of the 28th has 'bit the dust.'"

Following his description of the battle in which his infantry was attacked by rebel forces, Carter writes, "We had three killed and seven wounded. One of the wounded is Harry Malone, a Madison boy. He was shot, through and through. We left him at the hospital, and do not think he can live."

Fife and Vetrhus said the letter explains Carter's intellect and offers a few more interesting points about his life and military service. It was also the first time either had come across the name Harry Malone.