Lot 42: Civil War–dated ALS signed "U. S. Grant, Maj. Gen.," one page both sides, 5 x 8, March 11, 1863. Letter to Major General James McPherson. In part: "Please have delivered the accompanying letter to Mrs. Duncan. Also send her from the captured mules the number taken from her husband's place, or at least sufficient to work their place. Mrs. D. complains that parties of soldiers cross over in skiffs and annoy them very much. You will of course do all you can to prevent this. Charge McArthur particularly on this subject when you leave. There are said to be…rebel cavalry in the vicinity of Lake Washington; Can you have them attended to?" Paper loss to one edge affecting a few words, otherwise fine condition.This letter dates to early in the period of Grant's operations against Vicksburg, written shortly after leading his forces across the Mississippi River en route to the Confederate fortress city. McPherson was in command of the XVII Corps in Grant's Army of the Tennessee, and John McArthur led one of three divisions under McPherson. The "Mrs. Duncan" discussed is most likely the wife of Stephen Duncan, a wealthy cotton planter and the largest slaveholder in Mississippi. Duncan opposed secession despite his business interests, which ostracized him from from his fellow Southerners and drew ire from Confederate troops; according to complaints lodged by the Duncan family, more than eighty mules were stolen by rebel forces in 1863. Duncan's daughter-in-law was especially vocal in her outrage with the US governments failure to secure their property and wrote letters to President Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton, among others. Despite General Grant's honest efforts to rectify these concerns, Stephen Duncan abandoned his Natchez plantation and fled to New York in the spring of 1863.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 467
Wednesday, 13th January 2016
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