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    Description

    CSS Savannah: Thomas William Brent Autograph Letter Signed and Initialed as Commandant of the Confederate States Navy. One page on tan Confederate States Navy Station letterhead, 8" x 10.5", Savannah, Georgia, July 15, 1862. This letter, accomplished entirely in Commander Brent's hand, is addressed to "Lieut. J. Rutledge, Cmdg., Naval Battery &c, Savannah River," and instructs Rutledge to "send an officer to Oglethorpe Barracks in this city with instructions to apply to the officer commanding at that post for Wm. Meyer, a private marine left there by Lieut Rainey, C.S.N., for safe keeping. You will receive the said marine on board the Savannah for subsistence." Brent adds a P.S. - essentially a docket - noting when and how the message was transmitted, followed by his initials.

    Little is known about William Meyer, other than the fact that he was a member of a local volunteer company temporarily housed at Oglethorpe Barracks. Lieutenant Rainey is most likely J. B. D. Rainey, a seaman on the ironclad floating battery CSS Georgia (also known as the State of Georgia and Ladies' Ram), at Savannah, Georgia. Brent's letter is lightly toned, with a small dampstain which affects one word of the postscript and, because the letter was folded, also faintly affects the word "Savannah" in the address portion at upper center. Small tear at upper left edge.


    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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