Lot 460: Confederate Colonel John S. Mosby Personal Letter and Signed Photographic Gifts
December 2, 2016
Hillsborough, NC, USALive Auction
This small grouping, intact as assembled in San Francisco by Mosby over 118 years ago, contains five items in four two-sided frames as follows: Autograph Letter Signed "Jno. S. Mosby, three pages, octavo, San Francisco, California, May 3, 1898, to Mrs. Kate Norland Garnett, Baltimore, Maryland, with postal cover, the letter reading in full: "I was very much pleased to get your letter a few days ago, and to hear of the success of your bazaar. I am going to send you in a few days three photos representing scenes in the life of my command. They are copies of paintings made just after the war by a celebrated battle scene painter in Paris - Philopoteaux. I suppose you have met Charlie Grogan in Baltimore. If so you will recognize his face in the picture. I never expected to see another war & consider the war about Cuba an act of national folly - more ridiculous than any adventure of Don Quixote's. Still as the country is at war I consider it my duty to go to war if I am wanted. So I wrote to Gen. Miles offering my services, & recd a reply saying that he had recommended me for an appointment in connection with the troops raised in the South. I don't know what it is, or whether I will get it. If I ever come to Baltimore I shall certainly call to see you. I was at yours & both of your sisters' weddings. Perhaps you will not recognize your old friend with one eye. Yesterday I recd a letter from Prof. Peters saying his son wanted to go with me to war. Peters & I were classmates at the University& graduated together in Greek in 1852. What a strange turn in the wheel of fortune that brought me back a wanderer to lose an eye & almost my life where I had been raised and educated." The "three photos" referenced in the letter above are present here, each captioned in Mosby's hand on the mount below the image while the backs, again inscribed by Mosby (once twice), name the scene's participants with Mosby always heading the roster. (This makes for a total of five full Mosby signatures between the letter and the photos.) Anyone familiar with Mosby's command will instantly recognize the names listed, examples being Sam Chapman, Alfred Glascock, John Munson and Ben Palmer. The photographic prints show three phases of Mosby's famous "Berryville Wagon Train Raid" of August 1864 in which his command disrupted Union General Philip Sheridan's supply line and captured over 200 prisoners. Of the prints, one is displayed with the letter and the other two are alone in smaller frames.
With the Mosby material is an unsigned print made in the late 1890s from the 1862 Nathaniel Routhzahn photograph of Stonewall Jackson, its mat imprinted by M. Miley & Son of Lexington, Virginia. Confederate veteran and photographer Michael Miley is best remembered for his equestrian portrait of General Lee astride Traveller, views of Rockbridge County, and experimental color photography.
The large frame is 16.5 x 12.25 in. DOA
An exceptional and unique opportunity for the collector, archive or institution.
Condition Report: Overall very good condition with no obvious impairments.