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    A. S. Johnston thanks J. R. Baylor for allowing him "to participate in the glorious achievements of the Texan Confederate forces"

    Albert Sidney Johnston Autograph Letter Signed. One page (lined paper), penned on recto and verso, 7.75" x 9.75", Mesilla, Arizona, August 7, 1861. Following the outbreak of the Civil War and the secession of Texas, Johnston resigned his commission as commander of the U.S. Department of the Pacific in California and left the state. After a brief stay in the Confederate Territory of Arizona, Johnston wrote this important letter to Colonel John R. Baylor, "Comg S. Confederate Troops in Arizona." In full:

    "Having been placed temporarily in command of the Texas forces of this district by the generous desire of yourself, and those under your command to allow me & the companions of my journey from California to participate in the glorious achievements of the Texan Confederate forces, the special object being the capture of the only remaining column of the enemy's forces in their territory, which the courage of the troops would have accomplished with as much facility as they gained their recent brilliant victory over nearly three times their number but for his ignominious flight after the destruction of all public property that could impede it - my duty requires that I should now proceed on my journey. I therefore respectfully restore to you, the authority vested in me by your magnanimity and request that you will now resume command of the gallant troops whose comitment [sic] and courage on the field of battle under your command and whose devotion to the cause of freedom, and independence, commands the admiration of their country.

    In taking command Colonel, I beg leave to tender to you and through you to the troops my most hearty thanks and to say that I will hold in lasting and grateful remembrance your kind courtesy to me and my companions.

    With great respect
    your ob. servant
    [signed] A. S. Johnston."

    John R. Baylor was a passionate Texan who, before the Civil War, was known as a vigorous Indian fighter and a member of the Knights of the Golden Circle. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, he successfully invaded the New Mexico Territory with the Second Texas Mounted Rifles and carved out the Confederate Territory of Arizona of which he became governor. Less than a year after receiving this letter from Johnston, Union troops approached the territorial capital of Mesilla and the Confederate territorial government fled to Texas. From there, Baylor was elected to represent Texas in the Second Confederate Congress in Richmond. Growing ever more desperate as the South crumbled in early 1865, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Baylor a colonel in early March and authorized him to create a mounted brigade of Texans to retake the Arizona Territory. The war ended, however, before Baylor could raise his brigade.

    After writing this letter, Johnston continued traveling east, eventually arriving in Richmond, Virginia, by the first week of September 1861, whereupon his friend Jefferson Davis appointed him a full general. Less than a year later, Johnston would become the second highest-ranking officer in the Confederate Army.

    This letter is clearly written with a bold Johnston signature. Also included is a cover sheet containing a docketed panel written in another hand reading, "Genl. S. Johnston's letter to Gov. J. R. Baylor." Toned with minor foxing.




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    Auction Dates
    March, 2011
    12th Saturday
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