BRIGADIER GENERAL MARCUS J. WRIGHT - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 11/10/1880 - HFSID 262912
Sale Price $510.00
MARCUS J. WRIGHT
The Confederate General and longtime US archivist of Confederate military records helps General Beauregard research an important battle in defense of Richmond (May 1864).
Autograph Letter signed: "Marcus J. Wright", 2p (front and verso), 8x10. Washington, D.C., 1880 November 10.On letterhead of U.S. War Department, Publication Office, War Records, to General G. T. Beauregard. Pencil notation (unknown hand) under date: "Arrived [?] Dec. 27/80." In full: "My dear General, I sent you copies of some dispatches this morning. I have since found other papers which if you have no copies of, you may desire. I mention them in brief. Dispatch. Sedden to Beauregard May 11, 1864, saying city is in danger & you are relied upon to use every effort to etc. Bragg to Beauregard May 13. 'Your despatch to Hoke captured' 'Move at once to Hoke' etc. Bragg to Beauregard May 15. Whiting is urged to join you, with whole force. Sheridan threatens the city. etc. (over) Bragg to Beauregard May 15. My dispatches of this morning to you & Gen Whiting & directions of President, etc. Beauregard to Whiting May 15. I shall attack the enemy with my force tomorrow at daylight etc. Also three letters, briefs of which, I enclose. If you want copies, give dates & briefs - or best - return me this letter & enclosure. Yours truly." MARCUS J. WRIGHT (1831-1922), from a military family but a lawyer by training, rose to the rank of Confederate Brigadier General, wounded at Shiloh (1862). In 1876, Wright was appointed Agent for Collection of Confederate Archives by the US government, serving in this post until 1917. Using these resources, Wright became an important scholar of military history, writing several volumes of his own and helping others with their research on the Civil War. He served as President of the Southern History Society. In 1900, Wright successfully promoted legislation allowing Confederate veterans to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He himself is buried at the foot of the Confederate Memorial there. This letter shows Wright at work assisting Confederate General Pierre G. T. Beauregard in reconstructing details of Beauregard's biggest victory. Beauregard was a capable general, but one whose quarrels with Confederate President Jefferson Davis limited his prospects for top command. On May 5, 1864, Union General Benjamin Butler's Army of the James landed at Bermuda Hundred, 15 miles south of the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, intent on capturing Richmond while most of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia was engaged in intensive fighting with Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant, further north in Virginia. With only 2,200 troops, a force greatly outnumbered by Butler's 16,000, Beauregard audaciously attacked Butler at Drewrey's Landing on May 16, blocking the Union advance.This action saved the city of Petersburg, key to the defense of Richmond. It would be nearly another year (April 1865) before General Grant's forces overwhelmed the defenses of Petersburg, compelling the evacuation of Richmond by the Confederate government. Referenced in Wright's letter are Confederate Secretary of War James A. Sedden, and Confederate Generals Braxton Bragg, Robert F. Hoke and W.H.C. Whiting. Light mailing folds. One-half inch stain at upper left of p1. Signature side (p2) lightly soiled. "Ma" of signature slightly smudged. Otherwise, fine condition.
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