7 December 2015
BEAUREGARD, Pierre G. T. (1818-1893), Confederate General. Autograph letter signed (“G. T. Beauregard”) to Brig. General Milledge Luke Bonham, Manassas Junction, 7 July 1861. 1 page, 8vo, small closed tear at center fold; with an unsigned carte-de-visite of Beauregard.
JEFFERSON DAVIS’S PRIVATE CHANNEL TO LINCOLN
“The bearer,” Beauregard writes to the rebel commander at Fairfax County Courthouse, “Col. Thos. H. Taylor, is sent as bearer of dispatches by President Jeff. Davis to Prest. Abe Lincoln. You are requested to send an escort of (12) twelve men & an officer with Col. Taylor under a flag of truce, to the advance posts of the enemy. They will then await his return, or return to your Headquarters, as they will be instructed by him.” A pencil note along the bottom edge reads “Select the best looking men & horses.” Lincoln famously refused to recognize the Confederacy and avoided words and actions that even implied the rebels were an independent, sovereign power. There were, therefore, no official diplomatic channels between the warring sides, and special messengers were required. Ironically, the very dispatches that Col. Taylor carried to Lincoln dealt with an aspect of Confederate recognition. In them, Davis demanded that Lincoln treat the captured crew of the Confederate privateer Savannah as prisoners of war to be exchanged. At the moment the men were languishing in chains on Governor’s Island as common pirates awaiting trial. Davis threatened to retaliate by meting out to Union hostages exactly the same punishment dispensed to the rebel seamen. Eventually the piracy charges were dropped. A fascinating document from the opening phase of the war.
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