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    Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart Discusses Violence in Bleeding Kansas

    [Bleeding Kansas]. J.E.B. Stuart Autograph Letter Signed. Four integral pages, 7.75" x 10", Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, October 24, 1856. Though the Civil War began in earnest with the shelling of Fort Sumter in South Carolina in April 1861, Kansas Territory and neighboring towns in Missouri had already experienced two years of bloody civil war. The troubles began in 1854 with the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, opening up those territories for settlement and possible entry into the Union. The Act gave the settlers of those territories the ability to decide for themselves whether slavery would be allowed or prohibited. Legislation began in June 1855 to legalize slavery in Kansas, but so-called Free Soilers gathered and formed their own government, rejecting the pro-slavery laws.

    Open violence began in June 1856 when pro-slavery forces were defeated at the hands of abolitionist John Brown and his men at the Battle of Black Jack. The following month, pro-slavery "armies" consisting of thousands of men crossed into Kansas Territory. At the end of the month, Brown again met an enemy force of 400 at the Battle of Osawatomie. By October, Brown had left the territory and a new governor was installed. An unstable peace began to settle over the territory.

    At the end of October, twenty-two year old U.S. Army officer (and future Confederate general) James Ewell Brown "JEB" Stuart, stationed at Fort Leavenworth, wrote to his sister Mary with the most recent news from the Territory, saying in part as written: "Peace is restored to Kansas and I humbly trust that the recent disastrous defeats which the Black Republicans have met with in the East will deter them from again lighting the torch of civil war in our midst. It is a matter of congratulation to all true patriots that the Abolitionists have met with such a signal overthrow at the ballot-box and such a frustration of their nefarious schemes against the peace of Kansas and the perpetuity of the Union. But you no doubt hear enough of politics and 'Bleeding Kansas in Va." In addition to the growing violence between pro- and anti-slavery groups, Indian raids were on the rise. Stuart comments that the "Troops will soon return here to Winter quarters and, not essay again till Spring. (I hope) The prospects then are pretty fair for a campaign against the Cheyennes Indians whose audacity and predatory attacks on Emigrant trains receive the [illegible] of the authorities at Washington which will result in summary chastisement." Stuart was a native of Virginia and himself a slave owner with sympathies to the pro-slavery faction. Having his slaves with him on post, he mentions them briefly in his letter, saying that "Bettie is improving rapidly in all that recommends a servant girl - cooks splendidly. Our negro boy . . . is incomparably the best servant I ever saw." The remainder of the letter concerns routine family matters. Folds are weak with separation thoughout. Waterstaining at the lower edge and along the folds has obscured some of the text.

    JEB Stuart headed east shortly before the onset of the Civil War and was acting as aide-de-camp to then-Colonel Robert E. Lee during the capture of John Brown following his raid on Harper's Ferry, Virginia, in 1859. Brown was calling himself Isaac Smith, but Stuart recognized him from Kansas. After the secession of Virginia in early 1861, Stuart resigned his commission in the U.S. Army and offered his services to the new government of the Confederate States. Stuart served the Confederacy with distinction, but was killed in action at the Battle of Yellow Tavern [Virginia, May 11, 1864].


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2013
    17th-18th Thursday-Friday
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