Lot 392: Civil Warâ€“dated endorsement signature, "T. J. Jackson," penned on the docketing panel of a letter written to him by Colonel Kenton Harper of the 5th Infantry, one page, 5 x 8, August 29, 1861. Jackson approves an endorsement in another hand, in full: "Hd Qrs 29 [Aug.], 1st Brigade, Respectfully approved & forwarded." Harper's original letter, in full: "I have just received intelligence of the serious illness of my wife, of such a nature, indeed, as induces me to apprehend I shall never see her again alive. Under the circumstances I feel constrained by the highest obligations of duty to ask leave of absence for a few days." Adjacent to Jackson's approval is a note in another hand dated August 30, noting that the leave was subsequently "disapproved." Professionally restored to very good condition, with a circular area of paper loss affecting a few letters of Harper's letter, two words of the endorsement, and a few letters in the August 30 endorsement, which has been expertly conserved and in-filled with the missing text added; the piece also has repaired separations to intersecting folds, scattered foxing and soiling, and substantial brushing to one word in Jackson's handwritten endorsement. Accompanied by a letter by Harper tendering his resignation, a document signed by Thomas G. Rhett granting him permission to return home, and a document signed by George Deas noting that Harper's resignation had been accepted and was in force.At the outbreak of the Civil War, Harper chose to follow his home state of Virginia in support of the Confederate cause, and was given command of the 5th Virginia Infantry on April 10, 1861. Eight days later he led a raid to seize the US Army arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Although retreating Union troops set the arsenal ablaze, he managed to salvage nearly 4,000 of the 15,000 muskets stored there, as well as valuable gun milling equipment and tools. Jackson arrived ten days later to assume command of the occupied Harpers Ferry and incorporated the 5th Virginia as part of his brigade. Harper fought alongside Jackson at the First Battle of Bull Run in June 1861, and according to unsubstantiated reports it was Harper who drew General Bernard Bee's attention to Jackson's brave stand during the battle that earned him his famous moniker. Although Stonewall had approved of Harper's request for leave to tend to his ailing wife, it was General Joseph E. Johnston who ordered Jackson to rescind the authorization. An interesting piece endorsed by one of the Confederacy's most sought-after generals.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 456
Wednesday, 15th July 2015
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