[Cortina War]. Juan Cortina Letter Signed "J. M. Cortina." One and one-quarter pages, 9" x 13.5", "Town of Cortina," August 8, 1864, in Spanish addressed to John S. "Rip" Ford, the "commander of the Confederate Force alongside the steam ship Ark." The document is headed, "Commander of Militia on the Rio Grand, Villa de Cortina." Early on August 8, Lt. Col. Daniel Showalter's 4th Arizona Cavalry, a Confederate regiment serving under Col. Rip Ford, captured the USS Ark, a riverboat belonging to the Union. Juan Cortina, recently promoted to general of the Mexican Army of the North and aiding the United States against the Confederacy, writes this letter demanding the return of "my merchant ship." Translated in full:

    "At the end of the docks, a mission party to a force of troops has gone armed to the River and seized my merchant steam ship cleared by customs for Matamoros, and because of that I'm sending you the present communication because if this fact is certain to demonstrate relation of friendliness with the Mexicans, I'm asking you to set at liberty the ship, its effects, and its crew. I hope for a quick hearing of this request and that the commander agrees so as to avoid bad feelings regarding the flag of your country."

    According to "Rip Ford's Texas," the Ark was not returned as Cortina asked but "condemned as a prize by Confederate Judge [Thomas] Devine, and finally was sold to Thomas Giligan of Matamoros for $23,000" (Rip Ford's Texas, 368-369.) Letters signed by Cortina are scarce; letters from him to Rip Ford with this kind of content are especially desirable. Age toned with smoothed folds; nicks to the edges.

    References: John S. Ford, Rip Ford's Texas: Personal Narratives of the West, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1963), 368-369.

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    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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