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    John S. "Rip" Ford Autograph Letter Draft (Unsigned) to Mexican General Juan Cortina. One page, 8" x 12.5", August 31, 1864, Fort Brown [Texas]. A concerned "Rip" Ford, popular Texas Ranger and statesman, responds to General Cortina's accusation that Ford's troops had fired on some of his 450 Mexican soldiers. In part: "I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of to-day. The complaint that troops under my command have fired upon Mexican troops on the river[?] bank is important, and I answer at once. You do me justice in saying the act unknown to and unauthorized by me. I shall institute an investigation and shall punish any one guilty of wrong in the matter. I would state, however, that upon inquiry it is reported, that the Mexicans fired first. Two shots were fired yesterday from the town of Matamoros upon my men at Freeport, and [?] was taking effect." The letter contains several corrections, including crossed out and inserted words, made by Ford.

    Texas Ranger John S. "Rip" Ford and Mexican insurgent Juan Cortina had been enemies in 1859 and 1860, fighting a series of battles along the Rio Grande. Ford's Rangers, together with U.S. soldiers under the command of Major Samuel P. Heintzelman, had ultimately defeated Cortina, who retreated back into Mexico. After the American Civil War began, Ford was given command of the Confederate cavalry forces in Texas (he later gained distinction for winning the last engagement of the Civil War at the Battle of Palmito Ranch). Meanwhile, Cortina, a hero of poor Mexicans on both sides of the Rio Grande, was serving as governor of Tamaulipas and had been promoted to general of the Mexican Army of the North by Mexican President Benito Juarez. In an odd turn of events in 1864, Cortina aligned himself with Ford's Confederate Second Texas Cavalry stationed along the Rio Grande, creating a complicated and volatile situation, as illustrated in this letter. Some ink-burn and light smudging; fine.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2009
    21st Saturday
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