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9 June 2004
EARLY, Jubal A. (1816-1894), General, C. S. A. Autograph letter signed ("J. A. Early") to Virginia Governor John Letcher, Camp Ellis, Fairfax County, 11 September 1861. 1 page, 4to.
"THE REGIMENT IS IN A VERY BAD CONDITION FOR WANT OF A COMMANDING OFFICER AND IS PAST DETERIORATING IN ANY PARTICULAR." EARLY DESPERATELY SEEKS A REPLACEMENT FOR THE 24TH VIRGINIA
A rare war-date letter. Early's promotion to Brigadier General left a vacancy in the 24th Virginia Regiment that desperately needed to be filled: "The regiment is in a very bad condition for want of a Commanding officer and is past deteriorating in any particular. The interests of the regiment and the service require that the regiment should have a Colonel of experience and capacity--I have been very much concerned to select some person to recommend to you, and Captain [William R.] Terry is the person best qualified that I know. He is a graduate of the Institute and a first rate soldier." Terry came from same section of the country as most of the men in the regiment and "if a complete stranger were put in command of the regiment it would have a very depressing influence." The governor took Early's advice and made Terry Colonel of the 24 Virginia. The new colonel proved an indomitable fighter. Wounded at Williamsburg and again at Gettysburg during Pickett's charge, he recovered in time to fight in The Wilderness and saw action in North Carolina before returning to the Virginia theatre for the war's final chapter. Union shot found him a third time at Dinwiddie Courthouse on 31 March 1865, and he surrendered at Appomattox.
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The date of this letter is incorrectly noted in the catalogue. The correct date is 11 September 1861.
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