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A new discovery - a story never before told! Superb content war date letter of Stonewall Jackson, describing in detail how with great honesty he obtained his favorite horse, Little Sorrel - the horse he was fatally shot on and who saw more action, and survived, than any other in the Civil War
"Important and revelatory content war date Autograph Letter Signed, ""T. J. Jackson Brig Genl P.A.C.S.,"" 3 pages, 7.5"" x 9.5"", ""Camp Harman, Fairfax County"", [Virginia], August 13, 1861 to Major Thomas G. Rhett, the Assistant Adjutant General, demanding the return of a horse that he had captured at Harper's Ferry that would become Jackson's personal mount, Little Sorrel. Expected folds, two small tears along vertical spine fold, some minor ink smudges and toned spots, else very good to fine condition. A remarkable letter, never before published, which contains critical information on the precise origins of Stonewall Jackson's famous horse, Little Sorrel. While most biographies on Jackson correctly note that Little Sorrel was taken during his daring May 1861 raid on Harper's Ferry, they often misstate the exact provenance of the horse. Most simply assume the two horses Jackson took were owned by the federal government, as much of the supplies captured in that raid were destined for that use. In this letter, Jackson notes that when he discovered a car filled with ten horses, he had initially made the same assumption, but subsequently learned that the captured car of ten horses was privately owned. Feeling obliged to pay for the horses, he negotiated a price of $1,500 with the owner with an eye of keeping two of the finest ones for himself. Jackson initially chose the larger of the two horses as his personal mount and lent the smaller to one of his aides, Lieutenant Bradford, who required a fast horse for a special mission. Jackson however soon found the larger of the horses unmanageable and desired the return of the smaller of the two. However, by August, Lieutenant Bradford had not returned with the horse. On the thirteenth Jackson decided to take official action to effect its return, and writes in full: ""I respectfully request that you will lay this communication before the General commanding. Whilst in command at Harpers Ferry, I assumed the responsibility of taking from the B & O. R.R. cars an excellent lot of ten horses which I had reason to believe were destined for the use of the Federal Army at the Relay House. Subsequently I learned that the horses were from the state of Ohio. The owner insisted on being paid for his property, or else have it returned to him. As no public funds were in the hands of the Quarter Masters, and believing it impolite to permit the horses to go on, and also inexpedient not to pay for them, promptly; as they were from another state, I determined to borrow the money (fifteen hundred dollars) which was effected through he assistance of friends. Two of the horses I thought of Keeping under the provisions of paragraph 1030 of the Army Regulations. Soon after, I had occasion to employ Mr. Bradford, now Lieut[.] Bradford on service that required an excellent horse: I directed Major John H. Harman[?] of the Quarter Masters Department to turn over to him the best horse in his possession, and Lieut B selected one of the two that I had thought of keeping. Though months have elapsed since the order was given; yet the horse has not been returned. A few days since I directed the officer turn over the horses to get him back, and give the requisite receipts, but Lieut B. as I have been informed refused to give him up. Subsequently he called on me, and stated that he would return the animal next day; but has failed to do so. He has no claim on the horse. I conceive that I have; as I purchased him upon my own responsibility, and paid for him out of my individual funds, without any assistance that the State would take him off my hands. As the horse I have is too rough for me to ride, and I have not been able to procure a suitable one I respectfully request that you will give an order by the bearer, directing Lieut B. to return the horse to the officer form whom he received him. I desire at once to purchase and pay for the animal[.]"" Apparently, Lieutenant Bradford obeyed the order and returned the horse to Jackson. This horse, who Jackson named ""Little Sorrel,"" although small by military standards, was a superb mount for the Confederate general. The horse had remarkable powers of endurance and stayed calm during the heat of battle. Jackson found its gait ""as easy as the rocking of a cradle."" Without question, no other horse in the War Between the States witnessed such fierce battle scenes and survived, as did Jackson?s horse: First and Second Manassas, Kernstown, McDowell, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys, Port Republic, Cedar Mountain, Harper's Ferry, Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, the Seven Days Campaign, and that fateful final ride at Chancellorsville. After Jackson fell at Chancellorsville, Little Sorrel ran off but was later recovered by a Confederate soldier who saw to it that the horse be forwarded on to Jackson's family in North Carolina. Years later, the family gave Little Sorrel to the Virginia Military Institute where he was a favorite of the cadets. After he died in 1886 (at age 36), taxidermists mounted the horse, which remains on display at VMI today. Today, Little Sorrel stands among the most famous horses in military history. On the verso, a later owner remarked: ""This letter was among the official documents in the office of the A. A. General on the Staff of Genl. Joseph E. Johnson & thus in 1864 came into my possession & I hereby certify it to be genuine written signed by General T. J. Jackson. The 'Stonewall' of Confederate fame ..."" The recipient, Thomas Grimke Rhett (1821-1878) served in the Mexican War and in various western posts following the end of the conflict. In 1858 he became an army paymaster before resigning his commission in 1861 to join the Confederate Army. "
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Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      Biblio    

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