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    Texas demands the departure of the US Army when the state secedes from the Union

    Isaac Van Duzer Reeve Letters (4) Written During the Civil War. Four letters, totaling 15 pages (various sizes, but mainly 5" x 8"); all written to his son. Most notable in the group is a four-page letter (7.75" x 10") written from Fort Bliss, Texas dated March 5, 1861 describing the departure of U.S. Army forces from Texas after the state's recession from the Union. In part: "On the 1st of March our order reached here by express, sent from San Antonio, from Genl Twiggs commanding the Department of Texas, stating that the State authorities had passed an ordnance of secession and had demanded that the United States property should be delivered up to them & that the troops should leave the state, marching out by way of the coast. He therefore ordered us to deliver over the property except our Arms, company clothing, tents & ammunition, and march for Indianola as soon as preparation could be made. The very next day Genl Twiggs was relieved from command of the Department & Col Waite of the 1st Infantry took command. Today we have received orders from him fixing the manner in which the different posts shall be evacuated. The State have allowed him twenty six wagons & teams to send up here to move the troops on this route from all the posts this side of Fort Clark (which is about 130 miles this side of San Antonio) including six posts - Fort Bliss, Fort Quitman, Fort Davis, Fort Stockton, Fort Lancaster & camp Hudson - the garrisons at all these posts making ten companies. Commissioners are to be sent up here (& are on the way now I suppose to receive the public property, & then we are to commence our march. Long before we can reach Indianola, and perhaps before we leave here, the present difficulties may either be peaceably settled, or may result in a civil war. I hope we shall get along without serious trouble - but I have many misgivings on the subject for these are perilous times, indeed. Whether we shall sail for New York, or some other point, I have not the least idea - all that the order says about that is that there will be transports at Indianola for our embarkation when we reach there. So of course we are to sail somewhere... I presume moreover that the state will send some of their troops to take possession of & guard the posts, and if so it will take the at least four weeks to march here... I am willing to do & suffer almost anything if thereby bloodshed & civil war can be averted..."

    Texas held a statewide referendum on February 23, 1861 on the issue of secession; 46,153 voted for and 17,747 voted against. Secession became official on March 2, and on March 5, the date of this letter, the Secession Convention met to take the necessary measures to join the Confederacy. Reeve outlines in his letter the practical reality of removing U.S. forces from Texas.

    An earlier letter written from Fort Breckinridge, New Mexico of February 2, 1861 (4 pages, 5.25" x 7.75") has some Indian content: "They [Indians] have been here twice lately in the night and once they were fired at. no harm was done, for it was very dark and no signs of blood were seen in the morning. Only one Indian was seen, but the tracks were found. The have been stealing a great deal in the neighborhood of Fort Buchanan..." This letter is incomplete. Two additional letters dated July 20, 1861 and October 13, 1863 are also present.

    Reeve was commissioned a Major in the 1st Infantry, and would rise through the ranks and would reach the rank of Brigadier General by Brevet in March 1865.

    Condition: All letters have some toning and wear. October 1863 letter has some staining along the right margin; February 1861 has light soiling.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2017
    24th Friday
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