Vincent Addison "Clawhammer" Witcher Autograph Letter Sign...Click the image to load the highest resolution version.
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DescriptionVincent Addison "Clawhammer" Witcher Autograph Letter Signed with Report of Officer Desertions. Two pages, 7" x 9.25", Camp Snyder; February 11, 1863. Letter is addressed to Colonel Henry B. Davidson and encloses Witcher's report of deserted officers. He then comments that the sickness in camp has driven many more to desert. It reads in part: "I have the honor to enclose a report of absent officers with note of the causes of such absence...Capt Yost Co "E" has been at home sick for two months, was not expected to recover but as I leave it now gradually improving...Lient Buskirk, reported absent without leave, has heretofore been regarded as a gallant and efficient officer. He has always been prompt in the fulfillment of his duties and I am at a loss to account for his continued absence...the sickness in my command is becoming almost alarming. I have desertion...two at Staunton, besides numerous others who are complaining in Camp." Signed, "V. A. Witcher." From the Military Archive of CSA General Henry B. Davidson.
Lieutenant Colonel Vincent "Clawhammer" Witcher was one of the commanders of the 34th Battalion Virginia Cavalry. He was a controversial figure renowned for his guerilla tactics and ruthless manner. Before the war he was involved in a blood feud with the Clement family which resulted in three men from the Clement family being shot, and their bodies mutilated, by several members of the Witcher clan, including Vincent. The men were later acquitted for the crimes. During the Civil War Witcher and his men were responsible for enough wartime atrocities, such as the Limestone Cove Massacre in November of 1863, to warrant a court-martial by General Jones. However, he is mentioned by Robert E. Lee by name in his memoirs. There, Lee commemorates him for his bravery at the Battle of Gettysburg, where Witcher lost over three hundred men.
Condition: Mounting residue with paper attachment on verso. Letter is rubbed and toned. Smoothed mail folds.
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