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    Description

    Stephen Russell Mallory Letter Signed as Confederate Secretary of the Navy. One page, penned on recto and verso, 7.75" x 9.75", Richmond, August 13, 1861. U.S. Senator Stephen Russell Mallory left Congress to join the Confederate States Navy when Florida seceded from the Union, becoming Secretary of the Navy for the Confederacy in February 1861. Here, Secretary Mallory sends a letter to "Josiah Tattnall, Cmdg CS Naval Forces" in Savannah, regarding the bravery and heroism of Midshipman James B. Ratcliffe of the CSS Savannah.

    On July 30, 1861, Ratcliffe bravely jumped overboard to save the life of one of his shipmates (whose father was quartermaster on the same vessel) that had fallen overboard. He was profusely honored by his commander, J. N. Maffitt, for his brave act on the quarter deck in the presence of the crew and later lauded by Mallory and Tattnall alike. This letter reads in part: "You will please convey to Mr. Ratcliffe, in such manner as you may deem appropriate, the Department's high appreciation of his conduct upon this occasion, and of the spirit which prompted it. He has preserved the life of a Citizen of the Confederate States at the peril of his own, and an act so grateful to the country and honorable to the service of which he is an officer, will not be forgotten by this Department." Accompanied by a covering/docket sheet that has separated at one fold. Letter is lightly age-toned with a small area of separation at one fold.


    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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