Lot 404: Confederate general (1816–1873) who opted against attacking Culp's Hill at the Battle of Gettysburg, a decision frequently blamed for the loss of this decisive battle. Exceptional Civil War–dated ALS signed "Edw. Johnson, Maj. Gl. CSA," three pages on two adjoining sheets, 8 x 9.75, April 17, 1865. Letter to his cousin, Emily Barton Brune, regarding the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, written while being held as a prisoner of war at Fort Warren in Boston. In part: "I know that the recent events that have transpired in Va. and in Wash'n must have affected you as they have done us…heartfelt gratitude for your sympathy and your kindness in my misfortune…yr father, mother & sister who have been surrounded by such awful & trying events…I room in what is called a casemate in military parlance, a sort of subterranean abode, built of very solid masonry, but not shut out from the light of sun…I no doubt occupy the apartments formerly occupied by your friends…exercise at all hours of the day…We have all been shocked by the terrible tragedy recently perpetrated in Wash'n, and all of us deeply and sincerely deplore it. Nothing at this time could have been more unfortunate for our unhappy country. All honorable men must feel as we do about this assassination. It must have originated in the brain of the perpetrator. I feel confident that he had no aid or sympathy from honorable men of the South—They are not assassins and not the allies of assassins." In fine condition, with intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing through a single letter of the signature). Accompanied by the original mailing envelope. Johnson was called to give testimony at the assassination trial six weeks later on May 30, 1865, where he was questioned about the conspiracy by Mary Surrat's counsel and by Judge Advocate John A. Bingham. He swore that he did not know John Wilkes Booth, and had never heard of any assassination conspiracy. On the same date of this letter, Johnson and several other imprisoned Confederate officers wrote a letter to General U. S. Grant expressing the same sentiments on the death of the Union's president.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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