Lot 498: Abner Doubleday: John S. McCalmont

RR Auction

2015-10-29 11:34:08

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Lot 498: Classmate of Doubleday at West Point (1822-1906). ALS, eight pages on two sets of adjoining sheets, 5 x 8, September 13, 1889. Letter to the recently widowed Mrs. Abner Doubleday. In part: "I have looked over the clippings from the newspapers, which you enclosed, and find much in them suggestive of the General's distinguished services, of which I have taken note and reinclose them to you, as you requested, for preservation in your scrap-book. I cannot hope, in the small space which will be allotted to me by the secretary of the Association of Graduates, to do anything like justice to the General's participation in the many engagements he was in, and the various positions he held with honor in his Country's service. And there is another question which I almost fear to touch,-i.e. the General's opinions on the conduct of the war. His views appear to have been very pronounced, as to the management of some of the campaigns, and the actions of some of the generals in superior command. In some of those things, there is a wide difference of opinion-but the General's life & writings are a part of the history of the country, and recounted in many books. Your own personal history, as sharer in his joys, as well as in his marches, trials, and dangers, or so much of it, as you relate, is peculiarly interesting to me...It is stated, in some of the newspaper notices, that the General, before the war, was very free to express his opinions on the 'peculiar institution' of African Slavery-I would like to know if you noticed this, and if it had any effect on your social position with the Charleston, or Southern people. I presume, when the cloud began to gather in 1860, all northern officers, were more or less tabooed by many of the Southern secessionists. I do not remember of seeing in the notices of the General's decease, any mention of the nature of the disease which terminated his life. Possibly, it may be of no concern to the public, or proper to mention, but in many of the obituaries of the graduates the point is mentioned, and is of interest to the surviving graduates of his class or time. You mention that the General was a man of 'iron nerve & determined will,' which agrees with my recollection of him. And I have no doubt he became strong, physically, & vigorous or he could not have endured the marches, privations & vicissitudes of his Military life, but I have an impression, which I own is but faint, that at West Point he sometimes appeared to be fatigued, and was subject to colds in the head, or throat, though he was never that I recollect on the sick list-you will know if I am mistaken in my impression, I see, by a memorandum which I made in a note book, and by reference to a letter written by me to a class-mate in the fall of 1842, that the day the class of 1842 graduated, when we all came to New York, we stopped at the Astor House, and Doubleday, Bowen, Clark & I, occupied the same room. On my way to Florida, to join the 3d Infantry, I met Doubleday at Richmond, He got on the same train with me-we had a long conversation. He told me a great deal of news, and parted from me at his post; or the station which led to it, Smithville, the mouth of Cape Fear river, N. C., which I thought was a very dreary place-I did not then see him for many years, until we met at the dinners of the Association of Graduates, on two or three occasions when we sat together at the table." In fine condition, with a slightly trimmed top edge. RR Auction's Fine Autographs & Artifacts Friday, 23rd October 2015 Estimate: $200-400
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