Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

A fascinating Union propaganda item, a broadside, 8 1/2" x 14", signed in type by one Wesley Bradshaw and printed by Alexander & Co., Philadelphia. The broadside is headed: "JEFF DAVIS' CONFESSION! A SINGULAR DOCUMENT FOUND ON THE DEAD BODY OF A REBEL!". The text opens explaining that a letter had been found on the body of a Confederate courier, sent by a personal secretary to Davis to a relative in Cincinnati. The letter, addressed to Americans on both sides of the conflict, was contained within an envelope marked: "To be opened after my death. Jefferson Davis", with contents reading, in small part: "...The terrible game, which I have been playing for a lifetime, has gone against me...Had I won, I would, within five years from now, have made myself Emperor of America...". The broadside then goes into great detail, with Davis explaining how after reading of the exploits of Napoleon as a youth, he was determined to control the country through political machinations and alignment with the Democratic Party. He notes: "...the division of the Democratic Party was really accomplished by my influence...the election of Abraham Lincoln was insured by my money, as well as my influence...". Davis' letter ends with the hopes that despite his evil intentions and now that he has gone to the great beyond, he prays that Americans will embrace the Constitution and reunite for the benefit of all. A terrific fantasy, some of the best nonsense we've seen come out of the Civil War!

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March 30, 2011 11:00 AM EDT

Stamford, CT, US

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