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    CSS Georgia: Thomas William Brent Letter Signed as Commandant of the Confederate States Navy. One page on tan Confederate States Navy Station letterhead, 8" x 10.5", Savannah, Georgia, July 18, 1862. Directed to "Lieut. J. Rutledge, Chief Engineer", "Michael Quirm, Naval Consultant", and "Wagner" at the Savannah Naval yard, this letter concerns the 250-foot long ironclad floating battery CSS Georgia, a partially built vessel that was presented to the Confederate States by "the Ladies of Georgia" in late 1861.

    As the different states seceded from the Union, each made efforts to provide for a navy and conferred rank upon its officers. A few revenue cutters and merchant steamers were seized and converted into men-of-war. Thus, at the beginning, each state had its own navy. By the time this letter was written, Jefferson Davis' government would oversee all Confederate naval operations.

    Brent's letter reads, in full: "Gentlemen, You will hold a Strict and thorough Survey on the Iron clad Battery 'Georgia' tendered to the Navy Department in behalf of the Ladies of Georgia, and report to me in triplicate the result, with your opinion in full, as to her strength, the completeness of construction, motive power, equipment, and efficiency for service, stating such defects or deficiencies as you may discover and the remedies that may be applied to them. I have requested of the Committee of Construction such facilities as they can afford, to enable you to proceed at once with the Survey. I am Respectfully, Your Obt. Svt., Th. M. Brent, Comdg." The CSS Georgia was finished at Savannah in 1862. She was used to protect the river approaches to Savannah for nearly three years. On December 21, 1864, the Georgia was destroyed to prevent capture when Union land forces threatened to take the city. Letter is toned with a few creases/folds at corners.

    More Information:

    This Confederate Naval document is from the personal archive of Confederate Navy Lt. Commander John Rutledge (1820-1894), a grandson of John Rutledge Jr. (1739-1800), who served as the governor of South Carolina and an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The younger Rutledge joined the U.S. Navy as midshipman in 1835, serving in the American Navy until he resigned on February 23, 1861, to join the fledgling Confederate Navy. He was quickly appointed a lieutenant on March 26, 1861, and rose through the ranks to lieutenant commander. Present at the firing on Fort Sumter as Beauregard's inspector of ordnance, Rutledge commanded the CSS Lady Davis from 1861 to 1862 and fought at the battle of Port Royal, South Carolina, on Nov. 7, 1861. At the beginning of McClellan's Peninsular Campaign in April 1862, he commanded the CSS Nansemond which patrolled the James River. Later Rutledge commanded the ironclad CSS Palmetto State when she patrolled Charleston Harbor and attacked the Union blockading fleet on January 31, 1863. Their content reveals that Rutledge served in several positions of importance in the C.S.N. in addition to commanding the aforementioned vessels. They are a testimony to Rutledge's illustrious naval career.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2010
    8th-9th Tuesday-Wednesday
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