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    Description

    Confederate General James Dearing Autograph Letter Signed "James Dearing." Four pages, 8.25" x 13.5", "In the Trenches", Virginia, April 28, 1862. A wonderful letter written to Dearing's uncle directly from the battlefield during the Peninsula Campaign. Four full pages packed with interesting anecdotes, almost too numerous to describe. Dearing was an artillery commander attached to Pickett's brigade during this time. Dearing describes landing at Ft. Monroe and meeting guides who admonished the men "...to hurry up for God's sake.- that they were expecting a fight every minute." In another passage Dearing complains that Brigadier General John Bankhead Magruder split up his battery and he complains to Generals Longstreet and Pickett. Dearing recounts a story of a battery which failed to fire upon the Northern side thus bringing Pickett's anger to bear: "Pickett is not noted for keeping his temper, so he ripped out with a whole handful of pretty strong words and told them that he ranked Col. Brown and was in command...Longstreet came down just then and told them the same thing in just as plain terms..." Besides recounting some of the more mundane events of campaigning - buying a horse, speaking of friends, etc. - there is also dramatic passages written during battle: "I stopped a few moments just now to fire at the enemy. I threw three shells right in their breastworks and burst through their lines. General Hill who was present was highly delighted." Dearing also describes being under fire: "As I predicted the enemy have opened upon me with their battery in front. They commenced just now as I was starting this sentence. They have my range exactly and burst their shell right over us..." and "While going from one of my pieces [artillery pieces] to the other a piece of shell cut a tree down in less than a yard of me. They have stopped firing now." A collector could hardly ask for more in a Civil War letter than is contained in this wonderful missive. The writing is clearly legible and the letter is in fine condition. Darling was mortally wounded while engaged in a pistol duel with Union General Theodore Read April 6, 1865. He has the distinction of being the last Confederate general officer to die of wounds received in action. Sanders lists no record of an ALS or DS for Dearing. A scarce letter and signature.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2006
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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