Lot 349

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(1810 - 1862) Union major general and astronomer, Commander of the Department of the South, died at Beaufort of yellow fever. War-date A.L.S. ‘O. M. Mitchel', 3pp. 4to., Albany, Aug. 1, 1861, to ‘Jno. Hon. Harris', possibly John T. Harris (1823–1899), a politician, lawyer and judge from Virginia. In part: ‘…On returning from New York this morning, I found your letter…I deeply regret that anything I should have written gave you pain – smarting under wounds which every southern [man] could not fail to receive from the terrible events which have just transpired…I am not an office-seeker. If that were my vocation, a due regard to success would have bid me to dispute my opinion…This I could not do…I beg you not in any way to inviolate yourself of any responsibility on my account. I offered my services to the Government and presumed in the outset, that fitness for place to which I ventured to aspire in the Army would be a sufficient recommendation to secure the appointment…I have spent a portion of my life in the Army and served my country under officers for which I entertained great contempt, and yet I flattered myself I did my duty faithfully and effectively. I expect to so do again because I have little hope under our government…I send you a copy of a letter addressed a few days since to the President. If you find it in any way want of respect to the Chief Executive of the Nation I shall be mistaken…'. One month after this impassioned letter, Mitchel would take command of the Department of the Ohio, and shortly thereafter conspire to steal a Confederate train with espionage agent James J. Andrews, an enterprise that failed but became known as the Great Locomotive Chase and inspired several films. Expertly tipped to a larger page, vertical fold at right edge, very good.

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January 18, 2024 10:00 AM EST
Elkton, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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