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COMMANDER THOMAS WILLIAM BRENT - AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED 07/15/1862 - HFSID 283741

 
THOMAS W. BRENT
As Commandant of the Confederate Navy Station at Savannah (1862), he instructs a lieutenant to transfer a marine private from a barracks in the city to the CSS Savannah.
Autograph Letter signed: "Thos. W. Brent" as Station Commandant, 1 page, 8¼x10½. Savannah, Georgia, 1862 July 15. On letterhead of the Commandant's Office, Confederate States Navy Station to Lt. J. Rutledge, Commander of the Naval Battery, Savannah. In full: "You will send an officer to Oglethorpe Barracks in this city with instructions to apply to the officer commanding at that post for Wm. Meyer, a private marine left there by Lieut. Quincy, C.S.N., for safe keeping. You will receive the said marine on board the Savannah for subsistence." "P.S. Sent to the Savannah last evening by the Garrison that the officer may apply [2 words illegible]." 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. Horizontal and vertical fold creases, affecting signature at "W". Edges and corners creased, lightly chipped and stained. Minor ink transfer below date. Lightly toned and creased. 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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