Lot 420: Confederate cavalry commander (1828–1862) who achieved prominence as Stonewall Jackson's cavalry commander in the Shenandoah Valley before being killed in the Battle of Good's Farm. Civil War–dated ALS signed "Lt. Col. T. Ashby, Commanding Calv. regiment," one page, 7.25 x 6.25, October 17, 1861. Letter to the commanding officer at Harpers Ferry. In part: "Learning that the Rev. Mr. North was in the vicinity of the Ferry yesterday & not having been seen or heard from since & his family being very much concerned about him I send under a flag of truce the bearer to ascertain whether or not you can give any information respecting his whereabouts & if so to permit him to return home as he was not in arms." Professionally inlaid into a larger off-white sheet. In fine condition, with intersecting folds, a few stray ink marks, and some show-through from docketing to reverse.
The day before sending this letter, Ashby's forces had been defeated in the Battle of Bolivar Heights near Harpers Ferry, and Reverend North was among four Confederates captured. He is mentioned in both Union and Confederate accounts of the battle. According to Union Colonel John W. Geary's official report, he was the chaplain of Colonel Ashby's command and said to have been present at every battle in Virginia to that point. A week later on October 23, the Confederate Richmond Daily Dispatch reported that North—whose horse was shot out from under him—remained in the hands of the enemy. The article alludes to this letter, relating that 'a flag of truce was sent over the river' by which they ascertained that the reverend was a prisoner but unhurt. It goes on to say that Reverend North is a 'true-hearted Southerner and will not conceal his sentiments even to procure his release,' but they hope he will be released because of his noncombatant status. War-dated ALSs by Ashby are rare and this example, sent across enemy lines, boasts especially interesting content.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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