DescriptionState Rights Gist Autograph Letter Signed. One page on "State of South Carolina, Head Quarters" letterhead, 7.75" x 9.75", March 19, 1861. States Rights Gist was a lawyer, a militia general in South Carolina, and a Confederate Army general who served during the Civil War. A relative of several prominent South Carolinians, Gist rose to fame toward the end of the War, but was killed during the Franklin-Nashville Campaign in November 1864.
Addressed to Lieutenant John Rutledge of the Confederate States Navy, the letter reads in full: "Sir, You are hereby appointed Inspector of Ordnance for the Batteries in and around Charleston Harbor, by His Excellency Gen'l Pickens, and will report forthwith to Brig. Gen'l Beauregard Cmdg. For duty. By order, S.R. Gist, Adjt. Insp. Genl. of So. Co." Rutledge, the recipient of this letter, commanded the CSS Lady Davis in defense of Port Royal, South Carolina, and later commanded the ironclad ram CSS Palmetto State.
When South Carolina seceded from the Union, Gist served as state adjutant and inspector general, acquiring weaponry and mobilizing manpower throughout the state. In early 1861, Gist was assigned to the Army of the Potomac as an aide to another South Carolina general, Brig. Gen. Barnard Bee, at the First Battle of Manassas (July 21, 1861). Gist was wounded in this action, but he subsequently resumed his duties as adjutant-general, organizing South Carolina troops for the war. Gist was shot in the chest while leading his brigade in a charge against Federal fortifications at the Battle of Franklin in November 1864. Letter is faintly toned, with two small tears at upper left. Despite these tiny flaws, this letter is clean and sharp.
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.
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