John Bell Hood Offers His Services to the Governor of his Native State of Kentucky, Thinking the State Would Soon Secede.

    C.S.A. General John Bell Hood Autograph Letter Signed "John B. Hood". 1½ pages, 7.75" x 9.75" plain blue paper, Camp Wood, Texas, January 23, 1861, to Beriah Magoffin, governor of Kentucky. Hood writes, in full:

    "Sir, In offering my Services to the State of Kentucky, I fear I was not explicit enough. And have the honor to explain my position more fully. I am still an officer of the Army, and so long as my State remains in the Union, I feel it my duty to continue as such. But when Kentucky leaves the Union to form some other Association of States, or if it remain alone, it is my desire to serve her in either case. As I do not wish to be an Officer of a government, to which my native State must of necessity be regarded as a foreign power. So whenever Kentucky leaves the Union, I shall, with the greatest pleasure obey any call from the Governor of said state. I am Sir Very Respectfully Your obt Svt..."

    In this historically significant letter, Hood responds to the recent secession movement that was igniting the South and offers his military services to his home state of Kentucky. After a difficult four years at West Point where he earned 196 demerits and ranked 44th out of 52 cadets in his class, Hood graduated in 1853 as a second lieutenant in the 4th Infantry Regiment. After Lincoln's election and the secession of South Carolina, the Kentuckian believed that warfare was imminent and felt certain that his native state would join the South.

    After Texas seceded from the Union and David Twiggs surrendered federal property in the state of the Confederacy in February, the 2nd U.S. Cavalry was ordered north, but Hood departed from its ranks before the regiment reached its final destination. When his home state of Kentucky did not secede after the fall of Fort Sumter, Hood submitted his resignation from the U.S. Army and offered his military services to his adopted state of Texas. Earning the reputation as a hard fighter at the head of the Texas Brigade and ultimately a division of the Army of Northern Virginia, Hood was chosen to replace General Joseph Johnston, whose army faced William T. Sherman's outside of Atlanta. Lee, who was very familiar with Hood's leadership qualities, had warned of his aggressive style, commenting that he was "all lion with none of the fox." An exceptional letter from this soon-to-be Confederate officer. In fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
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