SEVEN WEEKS AFTER SURRENDERING FORT SUMTER, COLONEL ROBERT ANDERSON WRITES TO
GENERAL LORENZO THOMAS ABOUT A RECENT MEETING WITH PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S LIFELONG
FRIEND, JOSHUA SPEED
ROBERT ANDERSON. Important ALS: "Robert Anderson/Col.
USA", 1p, 7¾x9¾. Cincinnati, Ohio, 1861 June 4. To General Lorenzo
Thomas, Adjutant General USA, Washington, D.C. In full: "I have
the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Genl Orders (Adjt Genls Office) No
25.6&7 and G.O. No. 7 Hd Qrs of the Army, and also of a letter from the
Hon. J.K. Moorehead to the Hon. Secy of War, with enclosures,
referring to certain parties in Louisville Ky reported to be engaged in
furnishing or forwarding, Revolvers, Tents, Knapsacks &c to the rebels, Mr.
Joshua Speed, a firm Union Man and a man of sound judgement, to whom I showed
these papers, advises that no steps be now taken in this matter-greater harm
than benefit to the cause would result from it. A letter from Surgeon Wright
USA. the Senior Medical Office in this Dept. is, herewith, forwarded. I am
satisfied that the opinion he gives, confirming the views of the Physicians who
advised with me before I left N.Y. is correct. Fortunately, my absence from Ky.
for some weeks, will, in the opinion of the leading Union Men of that State, be
advantageous to the Union cause in that State-If I leave, I shall leave
directions that I am to be sent for the moment they deem my presence important,
when I shall, God willing, at once return." Republican JAMES K.
MOORHEAD represented Pennsylvania in Congress from 1859-1869. He was a
member of the House Committee on Manufactures, later serving as Chairman.
Kentuckian JOSHUA SPEED had been a close friend of President Lincoln
since they had first met in Springfield, Illinois in 1837. After leaving Fort
Sumter and given the command of the Department of Kentucky, Major ROBERT
ANDERSON was ordered to employ Unionists in Kentucky whom Lincoln thought
he could trust to help get the guns into the right hands. One suggested by
Lincoln was Joshua Speed. Lincoln wrote of Speed: "I have the utmost
confidence in his judgment on any subject he professes to understand." In this
letter, Anderson tells General Thomas he has conferred with Speed, a "man of
sound judgement". Robert Anderson (1805-1871) was born near Louisville, Kentucky
to a prominent Virginia family. In November, 1860, Anderson was selected, partly
because of his southern birth and proslavery inclinations, for the command of
the forts in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. Originally headquartered
in Fort Moultrie, he complained to the War Department that the fort couldn't be
held without more men. Not receiving any reinforcements or instructions, he
moved his garrison to the more defensible Fort Sumter when South Carolina
seceded in December 1860. To keep a balance in his delicate position, Anderson
refused to surrender to Charleston authorities but he also didn't aid a federal
supply ship that was being shelled by shore batteries when it tried to enter the
harbor on January 9, 1861, with reinforcements. His situation grew steadily
worse, but he continued to refuse to surrender. On the morning of April 12, 1861
South Carolina guns began firing on Fort Sumter. On April 14th, Major Anderson
accepted the terms of evacuation offered by Confederate General Beauregard.
On June 3, 1861, the day before this letter was written, President Abraham
Lincoln wrote the following to the Senate of the United States: "I nominate
Major Robert Anderson, of the First Regiment U. S. Artillery, for promotion by
brevet, as proposed by the Secretary of War." Secretary of War EDWIN M.
STANTON had proposed to Lincoln "for your approbation the name of Major
Robert Anderson, First Artillery, to be lieutenant-colonel by brevet, for his
wise and heroic transfer of the garrison of Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, to
date from December 26, 1860, and to be colonel by brevet for his gallant
maintenance of the latter fort under severe hardships, with but a handful of
men, against the threats and summons of a formidable army, to date from April
15, 1861." He was appointed Brigadier General on May 15, 1861 and given the
command of the Department of Kentucky which was merged into the Department of
the Cumberland on August 15th. Anderson writes about his health in this letter.
When his health got worse a few months later, he was relieved of field command
(October 8, 1861) and given duties at various posts in the North. Brigadier
General Anderson was retired from the regular army on October 27, 1863 and
brevetted Major General. After the recapture of Charleston, on April 14, 1865,
Major General Robert Anderson took part in a ceremony in which he raised the
same Union flag he had lowered exactly four years earlier. Lightly creased.
Lightly browned edges. Small nick at right edge. Overall, fine condition.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
MAJOR GENERAL ROBERT ANDERSON
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