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    Brave as was this soldier in facing shot and shell, Braver still the artist, bearing blindness well. (Tombstone inscription, Samuel W. Price)

    ARCHIVE OF U.S. GENERAL SAMUEL WOODSON PRICE Famed Kentucky artist and hero of Kennesaw Mountain, including letters from Sherman, Sheridan, Rosecrans, Benjamin Harrison, and others. Price was born in 1828 near Nicholasville, Kentucky. His early career was spent as a portrait artist and he studied in New York City at the Art School of Design. He was commissioned into the 21st Kentucky Infantry on February 26, 1862 as a colonel. His brigade became part of the Army of the Cumberland and he was seriously wounded at Kennesaw Mountain taking a bullet near the heart. Only some brilliant battlefield surgery saved his life. The near-fatal injury precluded him from battlefield duty and he was given a post position in Lexington, Kentucky. Congress awarded him the rank brevet brigadier general in 1865 for meritorious service at Kennesaw. After the war, Price continued to paint. He completed a series of Union general portraits including Generals Rosecrans and Sherman. Two of his works, Caught Napping and Gone Up, were awarded gold medals at the Cincinnati Exposition of 1872. In the early 1880s, Price lost vision in both eyes, ending his career as an portraitist. No longer able to paint, he turned to writing, completing a series of essays about Kentucky artists entitled The Old Masters of the Bluegrass and a book about his old unit A History of the 21st Kentucky Infantry. Price died in 1918 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. His works can be found in the National Portrait Gallery and several fine museums and institutions.

    Just a few highlights of this well-researched and organized archive includes:

    General William S. Rosecrans Autograph Letter Signed
    "W. S. Rosecrans". One page, 4.75" x 7.75" plain paper, New York, September 10, 1868, to Price in regard to sitting for a portrait. In full: "Dear General, I shall return home next week and will try to give you the sittings you desire week after next in Cin. O. Your friend." The result of this sitting is now hanging in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution. Fine condition.

    General William T. Sherman Autograph Letter Signed
    "W. T. Sherman". Four pages, 5" x 8" lined "Headquarters of the United States" letterhead, Washington, D.C., April 10, 1877, to Price in answer to Price's apparent request for Sherman to sit for a portrait. A very interesting letter that reveals Sherman's lack of regard for some of the artists and photographers of the day. In part: "Dear Price, I had made up my mind to submit to the torture of the photograph, purely out of respect for you. I surely want you to accomplish anything and everything in your line of profession... Mora of New York has of me photographs of every notion and kind- standing - in bust - in Uniform and in civil dress.- These are the best extant. Those of Brady are simply monstrous..." Fine condition save for one area of dark toning, expected folds.

    General Philip H. Sheridan Manuscript Letter Signed
    "P. H. Sheridan". 1.5 pages, 8" x 10.5" "Headquarters Mil. Div. of the Missouri" letterhead, Chicago, April 28, 1881, to General A. M. Stout. Sheridan testifies as to Price's war record. In part: "...His record as a man and an officer was excellent and it would give me great pleasure to learn that his friends had succeeded in obtaining from the government some recognition of his services." Original folds, else very fine.

    Senator Benjamin Harrison Manuscript Letter Signed "Benj. Harrison". 2.25 pages, 5" x 8" lined "United States Senate Chamber" letterhead, Washington, D.C., October 21, 1881, to the President [Chester A. Arthur]. Harrison recommends Price for the position of Surveyor at the Port at Louisville, Kentucky, writing in part: "...He was one of those gallant soldiers furnished by Kentucky to the Union Army... He was wounded in the desperate assault made by our troops on Kennesaw Mountain...and is now suffering from the effects of that wound. He is an excellent man...I do not often interfere with appointments from the States but I cannot withhold from Gen. Price these words of commendation." Light toning, a couple of stains, original folds, else about fine.

    General William T. Sherman Autograph Letter Signed
    "W. T. Sherman General". 1.25 pages, 5" x 8" lined "Headquarters of the United States" letterhead, Washington, D.C., December 16, 1881, to Secretary of the Treasury Charles A. Folger. Sherman is requesting Folger's help in securing assistance for General Price who is now blind. In part: "In my judgment the Government of the U.S. owes him a debt which cannot be too generously paid." Some toning, a tiny tear at one fold, else about fine.

    Accompanying this excellent group of correspondence is a substantial amount of collateral and research material including biographical information, photocopies of his military records, and a copy of the book Three Kentucky Artists Hart, Price, Troye by J. Winston Coleman Jr. (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1974).


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2007
    1st Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
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