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    [Nathan Bedford Forrest]. Period Scribe Copy of a War Dated Nathan Bedford Letter. One page, 7.75" x 9.75", "Eight Miles South of Egypt" [Mississippi]; February 22, 1864. A period copy likely written by an aide, of a letter from Forrest, written the day of the Battle of Okolona, to Colonel Richard Harrison ordering the latter to assume the command of all mounted forces under General Daniel Ruggles in Mississippi. Forrest writes: "If Genl. Ruggles is at Columbus, you will assume Command of all the mounted forces of Genl. Ruggles & move up to Cotton Gin Port. The enemy is at Okolona & may attempt to cross at that point or above. Should they do so, you will harass & prevent them doing so. Should they cross you will check them all you can, keep in their front, burn all bridges behind you & keep me advised of their movements. Send a copy of this to Genl. Ruggles. N. B. Forrest / Maj. Genl."

    The letter is dated the same day the Battle of Okolona (Mississippi) was fought between Union cavalry forces under General William Sooy Smith and Confederate cavalry forces under Forrest. Although outnumbered more than two to one in numbers, Forrest's forces defeated the Union cavalry after a day long battle. It is not known the time during the day Forrest wrote the original letter, though it was probably after the battle when the Union forces were in retreat. A small picture of a Confederate flag has been affixed to cover the word "Copy" to the left of Forrest's name.

    Richard Harrison (1821-1876), born in Jefferson County, Alabama, moved to Mississippi in 1835, where he pursued a career as a physician and politician. During the Civil War he served the Confederacy in the 11th Mississippi Infantry and the 43rd Mississippi Infantry. He was commissioned as a colonel in 1862. He was captured at Vicksburg in 1863 and soon exchanged. He was mustered out of service in May 1865.

    Daniel Ruggles (1810-1897) was born in Barre, Massachusetts, and attended West Point Academy. After serving in the U.S. Army and participating in the Mexican-American War, he left the military in 1859 due to health reasons. He joined the Confederate army during the Civil War and led Confederate forces at the Battle of Shiloh. From late 1862 until the end of the war, Ruggles was stationed in Mississippi where he commanded mounted forces and served in various administrative posts. He oversaw the final exchange of Union prisoners after the Civil War ended.

    Condition: The letter has horizontal and vertical folds and has several small holes in the paper due to the gall ink eating through the tissue-like paper. Overall, the letter is in fair condition.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2017
    19th Thursday
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