Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Civil War: Henry W. Washburn Partial Autograph Letter. Four pages, 7.75" x 10", onboard the USS Morning Light along the coast of Texas, November 29, 1862. The Union naval officer informs his father of his recent promotions to acting master and executive officer, and he tells him about his recent forays into the Texas countryside ("I have landed on the coast of Texas with Boats crews several times for different purposes"). Washburn uses most of the letter to tell the story of one exciting foray which almost turned into a catastrophe. As he commanded a small crew sent ashore to destroy a "Salt Manufactory", Washburn "heard some tall yelling" on the beach and saw "40 or 50 Texans riding like Texans only can ride with arms swinging around in all directions." Washburn's crew ran to their two boats while the Texans continued "yelling like Indians" and "blazing away with guns, rifles Pistols and carbines." As they fled, the Union sailors returned fire. During the exchange, Washburn was wounded ("received a ball on my left elbow grazing along for two inches making a scalding wound"), but he and his crew managed to narrowly escape.

    Near the end of the letter, Washburn writes, "We are now going to Sabine to try to obtain a Schr. and some howitzers." There, at Sabine Pass, Texas, a few weeks later, the Morning Light and her crew were captured by the Confederate Navy. Though the Rebels destroyed the vessel and many of the crew died as prisoners of war, Washburn survived and was discharged after the Civil War ended. This letter continues past page four, though the pages are missing. With usual folds; minor uneven toning on page four.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 814

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Oct 23, 2010 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2022 February 19 Americana & Political Signature Auction.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search