Description

    [Leonidas Polk]. Polk's Farewell Address Broadside. One printed page, 6.25" x 9.5", Missionary Ridge [Tennessee], September 30, 1863. Addressed to "...the Officers and Soldiers of Polk's Corps...," Confederate General Leonidas Polk gives his men the particulars of his retirement, stemming from an argument with his commander, Gen. Braxton Bragg. He begins, in part: "In consequence of an unfortunate disagreement between myself and the commander-in-chief of this Department, I have been relieved of my command, and am about to retire from the Army. Without attempting to explain the circumstances of disagreement...I must be permitted to express my unqualified conviction of the rectitude of my conduct, and that time and investigation will amply vindicate my action on the field of Chickamauga." Ten days earlier, Polk was given the command of the right wing at Chickamauga and ordered to attack, but his attack came too late and he failed to inform his commanders of the plan. Despite this, he laid the blame for the failure of his command squarely on the shoulders of his subordinates. Polk demanded a court of inquiry from the secretary of war, but was not restored. He was moved by his friend, President Jefferson Davis, to command the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

    He continues by praising the men he so recently blamed for his inadequacies on the battlefield: "I cannot, however, part even temporarily with the gallant officers and soldiers of my old corps, without the deepest feeling of regret and a heartfelt expression of my gratitude for the courage, conduct, and devotion they have always manifested while under my command. Belmont, Shiloh, Perryville, Murfreesboro and Chickamauga - will attest on your part, the very highest soldierly qualities..."

    He concludes by urging them to "...fight on and fight ever, with true hearts, until your independence is achieved. Thousands of hearts may fall crushed and bleeding under the weapons of the foe, or the passions or mistakes of friends, but the great cause must not be sacrificed, or our flag abandoned. Our cause is just, and your duty to your conutry [sic] and God is as clear as the sun in the heavens." He continued in the army throughout the war and was killed by cannon fire on June 14, 1864, during Gen. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. Smoothed folds; overall toning and scattered foxing. Small pinhole near the upper edge.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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