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One page letter written and signed by Joseph Wheeler to his bitter enemy William M Lowe in which he is pursuing his earlier challenge to duel Lowe. The letter is dated July and I believe he is giving the time, 10:02. This vitriolic feud is covered in John P Dyer's book, Joseph Wheeler on pages 226 and 267. Their rivalry arose from a contested Congressional election in Alabama. "When the House finally decided Lowe was the eligible one to represent the Eight District of Alabama, Wheeler left Washington immediately for his plantation home, there to begin a campaign of vindication. Throughout the summer of 1882 he was busy writing letters, holding conferences, and it was rumored, preparing for a duel with Lowe. He ordered a quantity of revolver ammunition and his friends said went to the mountains near by for target practice. The duel never occurred, however, for Lowe came home to Huntsville in the last stages of tuberculosis and was not able to leave his house before his death in October 1881."
Here is a transcript of the letter which is extremely difficult to read:
Hon Wm M Lowe July 1, 1002
If your agent and your friends are correct in their assertions your health is now restored or so much improved that I am justified in making no further delay in requesting that you designate a time and a place where we can meet and by correspondence arrange necessary preliminaries.
My friend who delivers this is authorized to receive your reply and I will be at any point you designate as quickly as cars will convey me.
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This is an eight page letter on two fold out letter sheets. The letter is legible and in good condition, except for a one and a half inch separation at the fold. I have shown the first and last page in the scans.
The letter is dated April 15th (1862) and is written to his wife, Ri. Major General David O Hunter served on the Union side. His history follows the transcription. It is a very long letter so I have cut out some of the personal content. Almost all of the content deals with preparations for battle, life on the islands, and there is a hint of what would become a cause of Hunter’s, the abolition of slavery.
"This day week we went for the second time to Tybee Island, expecting to open fire on Wednesday the 9th but finding things not quite ready I postponed it to the 10th. We were gone five days and very uncomfortable days they were, for we had no accommodations on shore, and on the steamer, where I had a beautiful cabin, bath room, and really all the modern improvements, it was so rough that I could not keep from being sea sick. A north east gale has been blowing for several days, and the sea has washed up within two feet of our house, and I find it underminding the little garden of geraniums, roses and cactuses...The fall of Pulaski is going to make quite a change in the notions of our old ? with regard to the value of our old forts. Col. Totten wrote Gen Gillmore, or rather Gen Totten the Chief Engineer wrote him that to breach the wall from Tybee Island, out nearest battery being near a mile off, was simply impossible, and that the ammunition would be completely wasted. Other great engineers expressed the same opionion. Gen Robert E Lee of the Rebel Army, wrote Col. Olmstead, the Rebel Commander of the Fort that we might fill up the interior of the Fort with iron from our mortars, but that he might rest content we could never breach is walls. I find the water here does not agree with me, as it is somewhat brackish, and also sulphury, but as long as I can get ice I shall of course avoid bad water. I have too, plenty of congress water and plenty of good claret...
This is a cheerful lively place. All the Navy ships not immediately employed in the blockade are anchored here. The Wabash, one of the largest and finest Steamers in the Navy is Commodore Du Pont’s flagship and drawing a great deal of water. This is the only harbor she can enter on this coast-the result is she is here all the time. I look out from my windows...on the pier, where vessels are always discharging, and on the harbor, where from twenty to thirty vessels (part steamers) are always riding at anchor...Commodore Du Pont and myself are getting on nicely-I invited him to send us a hundred men to assist in making our Batteries at Pulaski, and this pleased them very much. On my return they had all their men up in the rigging, to cheer us as we passed.
I had a nice ride today and went to a plantation on the island of Hilton Head, (this island) about five miles off. This, I suppose, is a pretty fair specimen of the places on this, and the neighboring Islands. I found seventy Negroes on the place-the white family had run off the first arrival of the troops here, taking with them what they could pick up in a hurry. They were probably entirely depending on this plantation for a support, and are now living on the charity of their friends...The Negroes are working on their old plantations, under charge of men sent by the Treasury Department from the North. I feel the plan is not a good one, but I shall not find fault with it till I have had time to look full into its workings.
This Island is about fifteen miles long and has on it a number of plantations, all in about the situation I have described. The roads are good, and the young men of my staff are all fond of riding, so I think for the sake of the exercise and seeing the country, I shall visit all the plantations. We have plenty of our old Mexican enemy, the fleas. A man brought a caterer two drum fish weight 40 or 50 pounds each. Love. Most affectionately, your D Hunter general in the Rebellion. (signed on the left edge).
Here is a brief history on Hunter that is relevant to the period in which this letter was written. http://www.nps.gov/fopu/historyculture/david-hunter.htm
In March 1862 Hunter was transferred again to command the Department of the South.
Hunter arrived at Hilton Head, South Carolina, in March 1862. Preparations to retake Fort Pulaski in the Savannah River from Confederates were already underway. Hunter sent a flag of truce to the fort that was immediately ignored. Union troops opened fire on Fort Pulaski on April 10, 1862, and within 30 hours had forced the surrender of the massive fortress.
As the Commander of the Department of the South, Hunter made a pronouncement that caused controversy across the United States. Hunter, a strong advocate of arming blacks as soldiers for the Union cause, issued General order No. 11, emancipating the slaves in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.
General Order No. 11 - HDQRS Dept. of the South, Hilton Head, Port Royal, S.C.
"The three States of Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, comprising the military department of the south, having deliberately declared themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under martial law. This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether incompatible; the persons in these three States — Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina— heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared forever free."
Maj, General David Hunter
After General Order No. 11, Hunter began enlisting black soldiers from the occupied districts of South Carolina and formed the first such Union Army regiment, the 1st South Carolina (African Descent),which he was initially ordered to disband, but eventually got approval from Congress for his action. This order was quickly rescinded by Abraham Lincoln, who was concerned about the political effects that it would have in the border states, driving some slave holders to support the Confederacy. (Lincoln's own Emancipation Proclamation was announced in September, taking effect in January 1863.) Nevertheless, the South was furious at Hunter's action and Confederate president Jefferson Davis issued orders to the Confederate Armies that Hunter was to be considered a "felon to be executed if captured."
http://www.drbronsontours.com/bronsongeneraldavidhunter.html I found this link the most helpful on Hunter. It seems he was better known for his friendly relationship with Abraham Lincoln which led to several important assignments including presiding on the court-martial of Fitz John Porter and presiding at the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. He also ordered the burning of the buildings of the Virginia Military Institute and made strenuous efforts (some opposed by Lincoln) to free slaves and arm them for the Union cause.
This is a two page letter on the masthead of The Mississippi Historical Society, Columbus which Lee headed. The letter is dated Dec. 16, 1901 and is addressed to Judge J P Young (7th Tennessee Cavalry) Lee is unhappy with mistakes he feels were made in a recent article by Young.
My Dear Comrade,
I enclose a letter from Cap’t Dinkins, it appears he wrote me and misdirected the letter to Columbus, Ohio. My paper will be in Picayune (newspaper) next Sunday (Dec 21).
While it is true, your 1892 article in the Scimitar may have been written to ascertain where Gen Cleburne fell, still it states specifically that such troops were engaged and that Lee’s (S D) Corps was not and ? division was omitted. I had hoped thought that the correction would have been made in the Scimitar and although I never doubted your intention to do full justice, I feel you have done in your book (unpublished); still it has been 10 years since the omission was made and I feel since Capt Dinkins fiasco (he is referring to Dinkins book,-"By an Old Johnnie") has resulted from the correction not being made at the time, so my dear friend I feel you should exert yourself in ( writing is a little jumbled but he is anxious over the correction being made and the rest of the content is about this)
This is a two page letter written by Confederate General Stephen D Lee. It is on the letterhead of the Mississippi Historical Society in Columbus Mississippi, which Lee was President of. The letter is dated December24, 1902 and is addressed to J P Young, a fellow Confederate officer and author of the regimental history of his unit, "The Seventh Tennessee Cavalry.”
This is one in a series of letters exchanged between Lee and Young. It is interesting example of commentaries between the old soldiers which continued for years following the Civil War with blame being placed, events revisited and altered by the would be historians.
Here is the transcript of what I was able to read. Lee’s hand writing is very difficult to read so the transcription may have some errors.
"I am glad to hear the Scimitar will print my Picayune article. I am much disillusioned by Capt Dinkins’ (James) rejoinder; it looks to me as if he has done himself injury as a writer in charge of the Confederate column. He even yet maintains Johnson was in reserve (?) and at times introduces additional comments to show he was & says or virtually says he made no omissions, but (he?) did and claims that …‘my division was in the whole thing at Franklin.’ He says of his paper ‘There is not a ? in it-every statement it contains can be verified by official records”- That is, that only Cheatham & Stewarts’s Corps was in reserve and were not engaged.: I will not notice his rejoinder myself, it is not worthy of notice-is "wishy washy” I could not think more highly of his two corps of Cheatham & Stewart, than in the beginning of my article. I see the Vicksburg Herald (25) goes for him in a delicate way in the same paper, in which June 1892 article appeared. I feel since you will fully understand my feelings in the matter in the desire to do justice to a gallant division of my Corps and the memory of the heroic dead.
I hope too, you will in your monograph of Spring Hill, also include Franklin and the correction you have made to Johnson’s division.
Closing comments , your comrade & friend, Stephen D Lee.
Here are some of the organizations that Lee was associated with: The Mississippi Historical Society, President. United Confederate Veterans, General Commanding, Agricultural and Mechanical College Mississippi, President and War Department, Vicksburg National Military Park Commission.
price reduced See other letters regarding this issue
Beautiful 1871 certificate for the Atlantic Mississippi & Ohio Railroad Company made out to Andrew J Kirby and signed by James E Cathbert and William Mahone. No cancel marks to mar the signatures. Measures 11 by 7 inches.
William Mahone was from Southampton County Virginia and was a Confederate General, civil engineer, teacher, Railroad executive and a US Senator Small of statue he was nicknamed "Little Billy". He attended the Virginia Military Institute, worked as a railroad engineer, and was president of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad. During the Civil War, he distinguished himself at the Battle of the Crater, leading a successful counterattack that also unfortunately involved the massacre of surrendered black troops.
This is a stock certificate issued by the Central Rail Road & Banking Company of Georgia dated 1887. It has been signed by the Confederate General, Edward Porter Alexander. Folds, large crease and a slightly crumpled appearance. Staple at the top attaching an document that relates to the certificate. Several cancel holes though the signatures, only one affecting Alexander's, affecting the letter N. Alexander is best known as the officer in charge of the massive artillery bombardment preceding Pickett's Charge on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, but he is also noted for his early use of signal and observation balloon intelligence in combat and is well regarded for his postwar memoirs and analyses of the war. Measures nine by five inches.
The paper attached to the cancelled bond was issued to Margarita Cress.
The second scan, with the black backing shows where the holes are.
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This wonderful document on vellum bears the personal signature of Andrew Johnson who was known to have used a stamp for many documents due to an injury to his hand. This is not a stamped signature and I guarantee it's authenticity. Some separations at the folds, the worst being near Johnson's signature which can be seen in the scan. Large edge tears on the right edge with the document being folded back in two places.
The pardon was issued to John Miller of Petersburg Virginia who "by taking part in the late rebellion against the Government of the United States" was pardoned on the twentieth-sixth day of June 1865. Note that the document does not contain the signature of Secretary of State Seward as usual as he was still recuperating from his assassination attempt wounds from April 14th.
There are over 100 John Millers in Virginia Confederate Regiments.
This letter is dated March 20th 1851 from West Point and is signed by Fitz John Porter, then a professor at West Point. He is assuming the debt of one of his friends and former West Pointer, Barnard Elliott Bee. Porter became a General on the Union Side and Bee became a General for the Confederacy.
Content is as follows: Sir, Bvt. Capt B E Bee told you or your agent to call upon me for the amount of a bill due you by him, and charged to me. Be pleased to send the amount of the bill and oblige Yours F J Porter. (Debt was $189.84).
Condition: Brown ink on tin blue rag paper, folds, glued to the bottom is the old catalogue listing. Pencil and ink markings on the back.
Here is a brief history on Porter: FitzJohn Porter was a career United States Army officer and a Union General during the American Civil War. He is most known for his performance at the Second Battle of Bull Run and his subsequent court martial.
Although Porter served well in the early battles of the Civil War, his military career was ruined by the controversial trial which was called by his political rivals. Afterwards he worked intensely to restore his tarnished reputation for almost 25 years, when he was finally restored to the army's roll.
Here is a brief history on Barnard Elliott Bee: Bee had a distinguished military career following his graduation from West Point in 1845 however he is best known for giving Stonewall Jackson his name Stonewall by pointing to General Jackson’s brigade, "standing like a stone wall". Bee sustained mortal wounds during the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), the very battle that gave rise to his comment about Jackson