1 page, 4to, neatly mounted." />
9 June 2004
BENJAMIN, Judah P. (1811-1884). Autograph letter signed ("J. P. Benjamin"), as Secretary of War, C. S. A., TO PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS, Richmond, 30 December 1864. 1 page, 4to, neatly mounted.
BENJAMIN REPORTS THE ATTACKS ON FORTS WALKER AND BEAURGEARD TO JEFFERSON DAVIS. "I have the honor to submit herewith copies of the official reports of the Bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard at the entrance of Port Royal Sound; and of the battle of Drainsville of the 20th inst. for communication to the Congress." Union admiral Samuel F. Du Pont had just led a fleet of 17 cruisers and some 12,000 men from Hampton Roads, Virginia to Port Royal Sound. On 7 November 1861 he bombarded and seized Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard, which the Union thereafter used as a base of operations in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. There was no cabinet member that Jefferson Davis respected and valued more highly than the brilliant New Orleans lawyer, Judah Benjamin. The post of Secretary of War was the second of three Cabinet ranks Benjamin would hold under Davis. Initially tapping him as Attorney-general, Davis decided he needed Benjamin's talents in a more important role, so in September 1861 he moved him to the War Department. His closeness to Davis, along with his Jewish faith, attracted the resentments of jealous rivals. With the loss of Roanoke Island in early 1862, close on the heels of Grant's capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, critics began braying for Benjamin's blood. Davis responded by promoting him to Secretary of State, a post he held until the collapse of the Confederacy in 1865. Initially part of Davis's contingent when the fugitive president abandoned Richmond, Benjamin managed to escape to England where he enjoyed a thriving legal practice until his death in 1884.
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