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    [Western Department, CSA]. W.W. Mackall Autograph Letter Signed as Assistant Adjutant General, Western Department, Confederate Army. Three pages of a bifolium, 7.75" x 9.75". Columbus, Kentucky; September 30, 1861. A letter to Lieutenant Joseph Dixon, an engineer, sending orders from Albert Sidney Johnston to carry out a fact-finding expedition in Kentucky. Although a slave state, Kentucky took a neutral stance in the Civil War and the Confederate Army was concerned that the state would serve as a route for Union forces to attack the Southern states. Thus it was important for the Western Department of the Confederate Army to make sure forts were adequate to protect the major river ways and railroads in the area. In part:

    "You are directed by General Johnston to proceed to examine the country. On a line East from this place to Mayfield, and included within said line and the rail-roads from this place and from Paducah to Union City.

    Your attention will be specially directed to the selection of a suitable place, in an advanced position, for an entrenched camp covering the Paducah and the Mobile Rail Roads, and forming also a part of the line from Columbus to Fort Henry on the Tennessee...

    Looking at the Map, Milburn or Maysfield would seem to fill the conditions of the problem, but it is understood that the want of water at both these places forbids the establishment of a camp at either, and that therefore the point must fall south of this line... Your particular attention is called to the supply of water: it is understood that this section of the country is badly watered and in summer almost destitute.... The object of your expedition will not be communicated to others
    ." A fascinating glimpse into the Confederate Army's approach to Kentucky, a strategically important Border State that declared neutrality,

    Condition: Horizontal folds, with a long separation occurring at central fold. Several small stains, and bits of paper loss in the second page of the bifolium, without affecting text.

    More Information:

    William W. Mackall (1817-1891) was born in Maryland and pursued a military career, attending West Point. He served in the United States Army for more than two decades, participating in the Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. In 1861, Mackall decided to join the Confederate cause and resigned from the U.S. Army. He began his service in the Confederate Army in September 1861 with the rank of lieutenant colonel and assistant adjutant general and was assigned to Confederate Department Number Two on September 15, 1861. He became assistant adjutant general to General Albert Sidney Johnston, commander of the Confederacy's Western Department. Mackall was later promoted to the rank of brigadier general in March 1862. Between January 1864 and August 1864 he served as chief of staff in the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston. Mackall was in command of Confederate forces in Georgia btween March and May 1865, when he was captured by Union forces. After the war, Mackall settled in Virginia where he pursued farming.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2016
    5th Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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