Lot 682

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(1824-1881) Union major general who is known for the disastrous charges made at Fredericksburg in 1862, and the nicknaming of distinctive facial hair. Fine content war-date A.L.S. on State of Rhode Island Adjutant General's Office letterhead, 3pp. 8vo., Providence, Aug. 9, 1861 to "Hon. Henry Wilson", future Vice President, at the time a Senator from Massachusetts and Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs. Three days after his promotion to brigadier general, Burnside, who had led poorly at First Manassas, engaging his troops piecemeal, seeks to cover his tracks. In part: "...You will remember a conversation that I had with Genl. [Irvin] McDowell...in reference to the move upon Manassas...you looked at me as if you thought I was inclined to be over cautious...in the course of some remarks at Newport the other day, I unwisely alluded to your looks of distrust as to my courage...today...I learned that you were the first to urge my confirmation as Brig. Genl., which convince me that you never could have entertained the thoughts...I am always anxious to repair a wrong...thank you for your kind support...As I may have been understood to imply that you were urging a forward move at the time I beg to say that I never heard or saw anything from you that tended that way...". Very good. Wilson received far more criticism for his involvement with First Manassas: he may have revealed plans for the invasion of Virginia (culminating in First Manassas) to southern spy Rose O'Neal Greenhow. Wilson (although married) had seen a great deal of Mrs. Greenhow, and while with her may have told her about the plans followed by McDowell, which may have been part of the intelligence Mrs. Greenhow got to Confederate forces under Beauregard. Sold with a carte de visite photo of the general in uniform by Appleton, corners clipped.

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September 11, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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