DescriptionCamille J. Polignac Autograph Manuscript Signed "C. J. Polignac" and addressed to "Honoured Confederate Soldiers & companions in arms!" Four and one-half pages, 7" x 8.75", Neuilly-sur-Seine [Paris, France], 1896. Polignac's manuscript, which contains Civil War remembrances, is accompanied by a typed transmittal letter. Camille Polignac (Prince de Polignac) was a French gentleman and soldier who, while visiting the U.S. in 1861, volunteered his services to the Confederacy. He began the war as a lieutenant colonel and ended the war as a major general, becoming one of the few foreign nationals to serve as a Confederate general. He served mostly in the Trans-Mississippi theater, returning to France before the Confederacy surrendered, hoping, though failing, to secure the aid of the French government.
According to the typed letter, which he sent with the manuscript to "Mr. Derden" in 1896, Polignac wished his manuscript to be read "to the Veterans of the Old Brigade . . . at the next Confederate meeting." He begins, "Many years have come & gone since you stood shoulder to shoulder for the defense of your rights amid the clash of arms & in the din of battle, yet often still some magnetic attraction turns my thoughts towards the fading shadows of the Past." Polignac continues with his explanation of the cause of the war: "In the North, more especially in New-England, the leading men of the day aimed at a greater concentration of political Power & advocated the Supremacy of the Federal government over the States. The Southern Statesmen unanimously denounced that tendency as unconstitutional. . . . In conformity with the traditions established by the Founders of the great Republic, they adhered to the doctrine of states right. . . . With these two conflicting political tendencies, viewed in the abstract, the social question of domestic slavery had nothing whatever to do." Denouncing the war's outcome, yet pleased to have served in "the defense of everlasting Principles of justice & liberty", Polignac ends his letter assured that he "did not err in [his] appreciation of the Southern Cause." The central horizontal fold of two pages of the manuscript have been repaired with cello tape. Accompanied by an 8" x 10" silver print and a smaller reproduced photograph of the Frenchman in uniform.
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