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319   Jefferson Davis  $300 $1391 $1531 13 You must login to place a bid.
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#319 - Jefferson Davis

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Discussing Hood, Beauregard, and Hardee, Davis laments, “I was one of those who wished more than was expected from the invasion of Tenn”

Handwritten letter, unsigned, three pages on two adjoining sheets, 5.25 x 8, May 26, 1879. Headed “Memo,” at the top by Davis, to Major William T. Walthall. In full: “If you see our friend Genl. [John Bell] Hood, please say to him that I called when in the city last week, but failed to find him, to my special regret. Since I saw Genl Hood I have read the book of my deceased and much lamented friend Genl. R. Taylor, and was struck with his account of the expedition of the army under the command of Hood; called the Tenn. Campaign p.204 at bottom is a misapprehension as to what I certainly meant by moving north on to the Chan. & Atlanta R.R. pp. 206-7—Is quite wrong as to the orders under which Beauregard went to the South and the purpose I expected him to promote. P 208—The plan of crossing the Tenn. River was first made known to me through a cypher dispatch from Bgd. [Beauregard] and was never sanctioned by me, instead of having him as stated first adopted by me so as to filter Bgd.

Hood will remember my conversations with him at his Hd.Qrs. next to Atlanta, and probably saw the orders of the C.S. Adj. Genl. to Bgd. and may have heard from him of the conference I held with him at Augusta, in the presence of Genl. Hardee. Hood may also have, or remember the cypher dispatch sent by Bgd. to me announcing the plan to move across the Tenn. as well as my answer to it. As I have told you when the matter had passed beyond the stage at which the pursuit of Sherman was feasible, I was one of those who wished more than was expected from the invasion of Tenn. and objected to the tour of unmeasured censure heaped upon it after the failure. How did Bgd. abandon the Army after joining it, why & for what object as these declared as intimated. You know my recollections & may explain fully to Genl. Hood.” In fine condition, with lower blank portion of last page replaced (most likely due to removal of signature).

General Richard Taylor, the son of Zachary Taylor and Davis’s brother-in-law, had recently written a book entitled Destruction and Reconstruction, which was critical of some Confederate campaigns and officers, including the failed 1864 Franklin-Nashville campaign, which saw Hood drive northwards from Atlanta to threaten William T. Sherman’s hold on central Tennessee. After several attempts over the fall and winter months, Hood’s forces were soundly defeated and pushed back to Mississippi. At the same time as writing this letter, Davis was preparing to write his own book, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, with the assistance of Walthall. A particularly interesting letter, with the former Confederate president attempting to tactfully set the record straight. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.

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