RIPLEY, Roswell S. (1823-1887), General, Confederate States of America. For Private Circulation. Official Reports of the Confederate Defence of Charleston South Carolina...Addressed to the Head-Quarters of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, Commanded by General Beauregard. London: Spottiswoode & Co., 1865.
8o (8 1/8 x 5¼ in), Title, 79pp. Original pebbled scarlet morocco, covers sparingly blind-tooled at edges. In matching morocco case (as issued?), with folding map (see below). (Case worn, book and map in very fine condition). Contains Ripley's official reports of 13 April (pp.1-23), 21 August (pp.24-28), 1 August (pp.29-48) and 22 September 1863 (pp.49-79).
[With:] America. East Coast. Charleston Harbour. From the United States Coast Survey. 1858. London: Admiralty, 25 April 1861. [Manuscript addition:] Shewing the Positions of Forts and Batterys Defending Charleston Harbor alluded to in Gen. Ripley's Official Reports of April,...September 1863. The approach of the enemy was along Folly Island....
Folding engraved map, 26 x 38 in., neatly dissected in 24 sections on linen. WITH IMPORTANT INK ADDITIONS, CONFEDERATE FLAGS AND CAPTIONS (by Ripley?) in red and blue ink, locating and labeling the extensive Confederate batteries, barbettes and defensive works in the harbor. These are marked with 33 carefully drawn small Confederate flags (each roughly 1./4 in. square). In the harbor, near Fort Sumter, 8 Union ironclads are depicted, each sporting a small stars-and-stripes flag; the column labeled in red ink "Position of Federal Iron Clads at 4 hrs. 5 mns. p.m. April 7, 1863."
A SUPERB HAND-CORRECTED MAP OF THE CONFEDERATE DEFENSES AROUND CHARLESTON, SHOWING THE ATTACK OF UNION IRONCLADS, APRIL 7, 1863
Ripley, a West Point graduate, served in the Mexican War (of which he wrote a standard history) and the Seminole Wars. Resigning his commission, he became a successful businessman in Charleston and adopted the Secession cause. In 1860 he joined the state militia but was soon promoted to Brigadier General, C.S.A. and commanded Fort Moultrie during the Fort Sumter siege and bombardment. After quarrels with Pemberton and Beauregard, he was placed in command of a brigade under Hill, and fought through the Peninsula and Maryland campaigns, suffering a wound at Antietam. In early 1863, he was given command of the South Carolina 1st Artillery District, and worked to improve the defenses of the critical port of Charleston. He commanded the troops that repulsed a U.S. Navy attack on the city on 7 April 1863, as vividly depicted in the map here offered. That action constitutes THE FIRST USE OF IRONCLADS AGAINST SHORE INSTALLATIONS. In spite of Ripley's extensive defenses, subsequent Union efforts to re-capture Sumter and the city were finally successful in late 1864. Ripley joined the Army of Northern Virginia and served until paroled at Appomattox. After the war, he resided some 20 years in England, where he arranged the private publication of the present first-hand report and his meticulous map of the Charleston defenses. VERY RARE.
Provenance: Charles Kuhn Prioleau (1827-1887). After serving in the U.S. Army during the Mexican War, he moved to Liverpool in 1854 and was naturalized in 1863. During the Civil War, he was an unofficial banker to the Confederacy in England. He financed the purchase of munitions, outfitted some 30 vessels for blockade-running and gave a modern rifled cannon ("the Galena Blakeley") to Beauregard (first used against Fort Sumter, 12 April 1861). -- The present owner, by descent. (2)