Lot 402: Lengthy Civil War–dated ALS, signed "Jeffer. Davis," two pages both sides, 8.25 x 10.5, March 14, 1862. Letter to Confederate States Senator C. C. Clay. In part: "I have in compliance with your request read the paper herewith returned, you will find pencil marks and letters for reference, in reading these notes. When independent companies were tendered for organization, the Captains as other persons might recommend but could not choose, the right to select being confined to the Executive. I have no recollection of such action by the Captains as is described, either as the unanimity or persistency, see 'a' & 'd.' In relation to Colo. R. Johnson there must be a misapprehension as to Mrs. Lee's position see 'b.' My recollection is that Colo. J. was required for another position preferable to him. Colo. Anderson declined because of physical inability to serve as proposed, not to waive in favor of Capt Withers. The age and service of these officers named if compared with that of Capt. W. will furnish the reason of preference. The case as it then stood furnished a sufficient reply to 'e,' and should have been stated to you. The endorsement of the adjt. Genl. see 'p' shows how the 'refusal' was made which is complained of in 'f' and the preference expressed at 'k' shows whether it was field service or promotion which was the more desired. The officer at Lynchburg, Major Clay, was on duty as an Adjt Genl. & had not a position to be sought for its personal advantages, see 'g.' Capt. Wood tendered his resignation so as to avail himself of an offer in La. for service with Vols. In the field, but an instructed Cavalry officer, as Lt. Col. Being applied for by the Cavalry Regt. of La. & Missi., Capt. Wood was assigned to temporary rank for that purpose, without acting on his resignation, see 'h.' The correspondence in the case of Maj. Lay and the orders of the comg. genl. could not have been known when the statement ('i') was made. Capt. Washington remained on duty as an Adjt. Genl there is therefore no parallelism in the case of 'j' One in the Adjt. Genl's office should have better understood the case of Capt. Washington. The classification of officers of the permanent list had been on the basis of length of service. The exceptions when accidental or designed are no doubt understood in the Adjt. Genl's office. See '1.' Capt. Duncan is a skillful artillerist who has seen much service was required for command in the forts below New Orleans, if this was not service with Volunteers I know of none which will bear the definition; in order to command it was requisite that he should have at least the temporary rank conferred. How can this be regarded 'just' such a case as that of an officer employed on the papers of the Adjt. Genl.?…The army list will show whether there is but one original appointment to the higher grade from civil life, and a reference to the record of former service will show whether Capt. Withers has been placed below his juniors of the old army in the arrangements of these officers in the Confederate service. Neither Colo. McKell no Capt. Maury are in the Adjt. Genl's corps of the Confederate Army and both have served longer than Capt. W. The early appointment of Capt. W. in the Adjt. Genl's Dept. of the U.S. Army gave him precedence in that corps over Capt. Maury who was senior in the service. See 'l' & 'r.' Capt. Lt. Col. Wood whilst serving with temporary rank with a provisional Regt. Cannot interfere with Capt. (Major) Withers while he is serving in the Adjt. Genl's office. See 'A.' The provisional appointments of Adjt. Genls. For service in the field is founded on the Same reasons and necessities as the provisional appointments in the line, and do not disturb the permanent organization and relative rank of officers of the Dept. proper. see 't' The letter of the Adjt. Genl. contained other recommendations for promotion, that of Capt Withers was 'solitary' in being the only one not in the field & was approved for promotion to the grade of Major ('n')." In fine condition, with light toning and old mounting traces to edges, and a bit of show-through from writing to opposing sides. Accompanied by a full transcription. Provenance: The Everett Fisher Collection. Davis was provisional president of the Confederacy beginning in February 1861, but was not officially elected to a full six-year term and inaugurated until February 22, 1862. It was around this time that the Union launched the Peninsular Campaign, its first large-scale offensive in the Eastern Theater. Davis is especially desirable in war-dated material, and this unusually long letter rife with military content is a standout example.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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