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COMMANDER THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 07/23/1862 - HFSID 283738

 
THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT
As Commander of the Confederate Naval Station at Savannah (1862), he signs a manuscript letter ordering Lt. John Rutledge, in command of the defensive battery and gunboats, to submit a small arms inventory, determining what if any weapons he can spare.
Manuscript Letter signed: "Thos. W. Brent" as Station Commandant, 1 page, 8¼x10½. Savannah, Georgia, 1862 July 23. On Confederate States Navy Station letterhead to Lieut. J. Rutledge, Commander, Steamer Savannah & Savannah River. In full: "To enable me to answer immediately a call from the office of Ordnance &c, you will inform me as soon as possible, how many Muskets, Rifles, and Pistols with ammunition, and Cutlasses, you have on board the Steamer Savannah and Naval Battery under your command, and a list also of such of those articles, if any, that you can spare. Respectfully, Your Obt Svt". 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. The letter's recipient, John Rutledge (1820-1894), grandson of South Carolina Governor and US Supreme Court Justice John Rutledge, Jr., commanded several Confederate naval vessels, including later the ironclad ram Palmetto State. Normal horizontal mailing folds. Right edge lightly chipped at lower corner and lower fold. Minor ink burns. Otherwise, fine condition.


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COMMANDER THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT  


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COMMANDER THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT
Born: February 20, 1808
Died: November 10, 1875



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