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    Description

    Captain James T. Alexander Family Scrapbook, with Historically Significant Confederate Letter. This scrapbook was kept by the Alexander family of Virginia and includes numerous newspaper clippings, ephemera, along with James Alexander's 1861 Virginia commission as a Confederate captain in the Virginia Artillery. Also included is a historically significant letter to Captain Alexander dated April 21, 1862, conveying General Lee's concern about the willingness of Alexander's Co. D to fight for the Confederacy, rather than only to defend Richmond.

    The letter, addressed to J. L. Cowardin and Captain Alexander at Camp Windsor, is one page, 8" x 12.5", and written from the "Hd Qrs" of the "2d Regt Va Art[iller]y" in Richmond on April 21, 1862. It's text shows the solidarity volunteer militias often had for their home states and home towns over the greater needs of the Confederacy, to the chagrin of Confederate military planners and generals like Robert E. Lee. Through this letter, a Confederate colonel informs Captain Alexander that General Lee wants to know if Alexander's artillery company, which was "raised for the local defense of this city [Richmond]," will "march against the enemy, should the government require them to do so." The text reads in full:

    "Genl. Lee wishes to know whether or not the members of your company, are willing to march against the enemy, should the government require them to do so. You will therefore inform me without delay of all those who are willing to respond to this patriotic duty, as well as those who are not so disposed. Say to them for me as their Comdg Officer then they have a country as well as a sacred glorious call to serve and I believe they will readily march when duty and patriotism may call them.

    We are all equally interested in turning back the base and ruthless invaders of our soil, and I am persuaded from the knowledge of the character of the men composing this Regt, that no lengthy appeal to their pride and a sense of duty is necessary. I am confident that each and all of us are prepared to act in this hour of common trial and danger in such a manner that our posterity will be proud of us. Our Regt, as I am well aware has been raised for the local defense of this city, but let us remember that in times like these duty and patriotism are not circumscribed by particular localities, and that we should be ready and willing on any or all occasions to march to the post of greatest danger which is always one of the greatest honor."

    The 2nd Virginia Light Artillery Regiment was organized in February 1862 with ten companies, including Alexander's. One month after this letter was written, the regiment was broken up and its companies, including Co. D, were sent to various other Virginia regiments. This letter is affixed to a larger backing.

    The Alexander family scrapbook (11" x 14.5") contains nostalgic newspaper clippings, images, cartoons, and more, mostly from the post-Civil War decades and concerning the defunct Confederacy, all affixed to the album's pages. Affixed to the pastedown of the front cover of the album is James Alexander's Virginia military commission making Alexander "a Captain in the First Regiment of Artillery of the 15th Brigade and first Division of the Virginia Militia," dated February 1, 1862, and signed by Virginia Governor John Letcher. Also included is Alexander's certificate from the Boydton, Virginia, Precinct Cleveland and Stevenson Club, dated 1892. The cover of the album and all pages are disbound; the album pages are crumbling along the edges.

    Additionally included is a page from Harper's Weekly (May 18, 1861) featuring two drawings. One is entitled, "The Virginian of 1776" and the other, "The Virginian of 1861." Matted to an overall size of 14" x 11".


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2011
    12th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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