Gen. Braxton Bragg receives Command of the Coast of Alabama[Civil War]. Judah P. Benjamin Autograph Letter Signed "J. P. Benjamin." Four integral pages, 7.75" x 10", on War Department letterhead, Richmond, October 6, 1861. Writing to Major General Braxton Bragg, Benjamin, as acting Confederate secretary of war, denies the possibility of a transfer for the general, who is stuck in the panhandle of Florida, just three days before the Confederate assault on Fort Pickens at the Battle of Santa Rosa Island, in part as written:
"Let me say, that the noble and self-sacrificing spirit displayed by yourself and the gallant spirits that are now chafing in the hateful inaction on the sands of Pensacola harbor, are fully appreciated, and elicit the most heart-felt approval and admiration, not only of the President [Jefferson Davis] but of every member of the administration. We are as anxious as you can possibly be to relieve you from a position to which the future of war has condemned you . . . But all our deliberation results in this, that to remove you, (as we know is your earnest desire,) to some field of more active operation, would have the most disastrous effect on the morale of the army under your command . . . In the mean time, the President in conversing with me on the subject of your . . . position has suggested, that it might be a partial relief to the tedium of your constant vigil, to extend your command and make it embrace the coast of Alabama, thus giving you an additional chance for an actual[?] fight in the event of a descent by the enemy . . . a general order has been issued, making of your command a department and placing the coast defence of Alabama under your control. I think you will thus have an increased chance for actual combat."
Two months later, Bragg was given command of the Trans-Mississippi Department by President Davis, but due to ill health, he refused. He did, however, convince the president that his troops would be better used farther north in Tennessee. Folds are weakened with separation at the edges. One and one-quarter inch tear at the upper edge of page three. Minor paper loss along the main vertical fold. Areas light toning.
Judah Philip Benjamin (1811-1884) had a long and varied public career. His service in the Louisiana state legislature, the U.S. Senate (where he was the second Jew to serve), and the CSA cabinet (as attorney general, secretary of war, and secretary of state) makes his material very appealing to a wide range of collectors.
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