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    Burnside writes that he will not aid Buckner, "a man in arms against his government"

    Great Content War-Dated Autograph Letter Signed by Ambrose Burnside Railing Against Confederate General Simon B. Buckner Over a Land Dispute Which Would Eventually be Settled by the Supreme Court. A heavily edited ALS "A.E. Burnside" on Head-Quarters Department of the Ohio letterhead, 1 page, 7.75" x 10", [Cincinnati, Ohio], April 6, 1863, to court appointed attorney C. Beckwith, Esq. He writes: "I am this moment in receipt of your telegram of to-day, and hasten to answer. I can give no proof, but my own word that if the property is conveyed to me that I will convey it direct to the son of the late Col. Kingsbury subject to him of indebtedness to me. [He had previously written and crossed out: 'as soon as estate pays me for my advances , and in the mean time'] I will enter into any bonds that you may require for the fulfillment of this [here he has written and crossed out: 'to hold it for his benefit. In the Event of the death of the child before.'] You know why I am so anxious about this, and I hope you do not feel that I would do anything more to aid ['Buckner' is crossed out] a man in arms against his government than you would. Since he went South I have furnished money to the late Col. Kingsbury and mother, but not one single cent directly or indirectly has gone to Gen. Buckner, his wife or family, [here he has written and crossed out: 'and if I can help it he shall not have it'] and would not be possible that [crossed out: 'any this'] any part of the property could go to him [He writes and crosses out: 'In fact it never belonged to him, but to his wife.'] unless this boy should give it to him after he becomes of age, which is not likely. You will remember that the mortgage was closed when both Col. Kingsbury and myself were in the field. If an advance is necessary for the purchase I will pay it." The War Between the States disrupted many relationships and personal alliances as is evident in the dispute referred to by this letter. In 1856, Burnside and Buckner were appointed the legal guardians of the aforementioned late Colonel Henry W. Kingsbury. At the outbreak of the war, Kingsbury, who had graduated with the 1861 West Point class, immediately made his alliances to the Union despite the many family ties to the South. In addition to being his guardian, Confederate General Buckner was married to Kingsbury's older sister.

    Kingsbury was a natural leader and his military career flourished. He left for the war with the Army of the Potomac in early 1862 and saw heavy action during the Seven Days battles; Kingsbury and his unit fought heroically at Gaines's Mill and again at Malvern Hill. He was soon placed in command of the 11th Connecticut Infantry, then part of Burnside's force at Newport News, Virginia. In fact, Kingsbury would fall in battle at Antietam under Burnside's command; the General would be at his deathbed.

    The dispute in question originated with the disposition of land bequeathed by Kingsbury's father. Upon secession, it appears that Buckner and his wife transferred ownership of the land to Kingsbury. Upon Kingsbury's death, he willed a significant portion of the land back to his sister, and final disposition of this valuable Chicago real estate would continue in court proceedings until finally reaching the Supreme Court in 1890 when the Court would rule in favor of the Buckners, upholding a court decree of 1871.

    The letter has the usual mail folds with minor separations thereat and an uneven left margin where possibly the integral sheet has been removed. The heavy edits and hasty script show evidence of Burnside's rancor for the Confederate Buckner who was likely a former acquaintance and now a sworn enemy. An excellent relic of the personal battlefields created by the War.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2007
    24th-25th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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