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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA) - MANUSCRIPT LETTER SIGNED 01/17/1856 - HFSID 16525

 

FUTURE CONFEDERATE PRESIDENT WRITES TO FUTURE CONFEDERATE OFFICER ABOUT THE STAFFING OF THE ARMORY AT HARPER'S FERRY, WHICH WAS RAIDED THREE YEARS LATER BY JOHN BROWN.

JEFFERSON DAVIS.
Manuscript LS: "Jeffn Davis" as Secretary of War, 2p, 7½x9¼ front and verso. War Department, (Washington), 1856 January 17. TO HON. C. J. FAULKNER. In full: "I find an unexpected delay has occurred in the completion of the new models; but have assurance that they will be finished this week, so as to be ready for inspection at the beginning of next week when those designed for Harper's Ferry will be sent thither after which we shall be able to resume full work at that Armory. That class of community who have been for a time suspended from employment will I hope then be relieved from this embarrassment to which you have called my attention. As to the number of clerks required at Harper's Ferry, I have made some further enquiry, and learned that in answer to questions propounded by the Superintendent, it is understood the three clerks now employed, replied that they believed themselves able to do all the duty which would devolve upon them in consequence of the reduction in the number of clerks, made by order of this Department. You will observe that at the time the Superintendent made new appointments, and is complaining of the reduction of the number of clerks at the Armory, there are in employment something less than half the full number of workmen - and at least an equal diminution in the operations of the establishment. The period was certainly an unfortunate one, at which to argue for a large clerical force. And you will no doubt learn with regret, that the answers given by the clerks, as above stated, were not communicated by the Superintendent. Very truly yours." Three years after Davis wrote this letter, on October 16, 1859, abolitionist John Brown and several followers seized the United States Armory and Arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The actions of Brown's men brought national attention to the emotional divisions concerning slavery. On October 17th, authorities in Washington ordered Colonel Robert E. Lee to Harpers Ferry with a force of Marines to capture Brown. On October 18th, Lee ordered Lieutenant Israel Green and a group of men to storm the engine house. At a signal from Lieutenant J.E.B. Stuart, the engine house door was knocked down and the Marines began taking prisoners. Green seriously wounded Brown with his sword. Brown was taken to the Jefferson County seat of Charles Town for trial. A jury found John Brown guilty of treason against the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was sentenced to death and hanged on December 2nd. The melody of the anti-slavery song "John Brown's Body" was used for Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic", written two years later. CHARLES JAMES FAULKNER (1806-1884) of Martinsburg, Virginia (now West Virginia), represented Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1851 to 1859. A member of the Committee on Military Affairs when he wrote to Secretary of War Davis, he chaired the committee from 1857-1859 when the Democrats regained control of the House. Appointed United States Minister to France by President Buchanan in 1859, he returned to the U.S. in August 1861 and was detained as a prisoner of state on charges of negotiating arms sales for the Confederacy while in Paris. He was released in December 1861 and negotiated his own exchange for Alfred Ely, a Congressman from New York who had been taken prisoner by the Confederates at Bull Run. He then entered the Confederate Army and was assistant adjutant general on the staff of General Thomas J. (Stonewall) Jackson. After the war, Faulkner returned to Congress representing West Virginia (1875-1877). JEFFERSON DAVIS (1808-1889), the only President of the Confederate States of America (1861-1865), was Secretary of War in the Cabinet of President Franklin Pierce (1853-1857). He represented Mississippi in the House (1845-1846) and the Senate (1847-1851, 1857-1861), leaving the U.S. Senate after his state seceded. A West Pointer and veteran of the Mexican War battles of Monterrey and Buena Vista, as well as an experienced legislator, Davis was a natural choice for Secretary of War. Lightly soiled. Overall, fine condition.
 


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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA)  


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PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS (CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA)
Born: June 3, 1808 in Fairview, Kentucky
Died: December 6, 1889 in New Orleans, Louisiana





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