Lot 26: ALS signed "Z. Taylor," four pages on two adjoining sheets, 8 x 10, July 2, 1843. Letter to Surgeon R. C. Wood of the US Army. Taylor begins by thanking him for "the trouble you have been at in removing Dick from Lancaster to N. Haven"—his son Dick had just transferred from Harvard to Yale. He goes on to discuss his failed attempt to get Dick an appointment at West Point, "I did [not] consider in making the application that I was asking a favor from either Spencer or Tyler, nor did I feel any mortification at the result, which I attribute to political considerations, perhaps in not subscribing for the Madisonian; the endorsement made on said application by Spencer, before turning it over to the Engineer Burian Marly establishes the fact in my mind, that his is a puppy & blackguard—but if Dick is prudent & persevering in pursuing his studies, & succeeds in graduating with credit, which I consider he has sufficient capacity to do, I greatly prefer his being where he is than at West Point; for I have no wish for him even had he succeeded in getting through said institution to have made the army a home & arms a profession; for unless he could have succeeded in getting into the engineer or ordnance corps, which I consider equal to any civil occupation in our country, which there was barely a possibility of his doing, I greatly prefer his following any other honest calling & agree with you in the opinion, that the army is by no means permanent, altho, it may hang together for some time…We have no news in this quarter either military or political of interest, everything within the limits of my department are perfectly quiet." In very good condition, with partial separations to intersecting folds (affecting a few lines on the second integral sheet, light dampstaining, and show-through from writing to opposing sides. Accompanied by a full transcription. Richard Taylor went on to graduate from Yale in 1845 and became his father's military secretary at the beginning of the Mexican-American War before returning to the family's plantation; despite his father's wishes that he not make "the army a home," he did go on to become a Confederate general during the Civil War. Taylor letters of this length and boldness are rarely encountered.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 466
Wednesday, 9th December 2015
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