THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT
As Commander of the Confederate Navy Station at Savannah, Georgia, he orders
a reduction in the number of petty officers serving aboard the steamer
Autograph Letter signed: "Thos. W. Brent", as Commander, 1
page, 8¼x10½. Savannah, Georgia, 1862 July 16. On letterhead of
Confederate States Navy Station to Lt. J. Rutledge, Commanding, Naval Battery
& Steamer Savannah, Savannah River. In full: "You will reduce to
the rates of their original entry into the service, all Petty Officers under
your command, over & above the complement of the Steamer 'Savannah'.
Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant". Thomas William Brent
(1808-1875) was appointed a US Navy Acting Midshipman in 1825. In
1857 Brent, by now a Commander, received his first command: the USS
Marion, a 16-gun sloop of war. In January 1861, he resigned his USN
commission, and in March 1861 - now a Commander in the Confederate Navy, he
took command of the Pensacola Navy Yard. One year later (March 8, 1862), he
obeyed an order to evacuate the base, torching the Navy Yard and defending
fortifications. He subsequently commanded the Savannah Station
(1862-1863), and was then promoted to Commander of Naval Forces West of
the Mississippi. In 1864, he received command of the ironclad CSS
Savannah, but the ship hit mines while attempting to escape from a Savannah
under assault by Sherman's army, and had to be scuttled on December 21.
Brent was reassigned to Charleston Station until war's end. After the war, Brent
returned to Pensacola, working in the fire/casualty insurance business until his
death. The CSS Savannah mentioned here is a steam gunboat used for harbor
defense and re-supply missions. Having run the Union blockade successfully,
it sank in a storm en route to England with cotton to pay for Confederate
munitions and other supplies, in August 1863. It should not be confused with
the Confederate ironclad ram Savannah, built in June 1863 and used in
defense of Savannah harbor. Thomas Brent was its last commander, as noted
above. Normal mailing fold creases - affecting signature at "W" of signature.
Otherwise, fine condition.
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COMMANDER THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT
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