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Summer Fine Art and Antique Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 9, 2022 09:00AM EDT
Lot 651

Civil War Archive, incl. Gen. Bate on Death of Polk, Capture of Nashville

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,400

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
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$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Confederate Civil War archive of twenty-two (22) items, pertaining to the Fulton brothers of Fayetteville, Tennessee, specifically Colonel John S. Fulton, 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, Johnson's Division; Colonel Alfred S. Fulton, 8th Regiment, Tennessee Infantry; Robert Fulton, 41st Regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Company C; and James Fulton, Pay Director in the United States Navy. The documents include autographed signed letters (ALS) from General William Brimage Bate (1826-1905), CSA Congressman James McCallum (1806-1889), and others. Subjects include the death of Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk (1806-1864), the Battle of Fort Henry, the Battle of Fort Donelson, the capture of Nashville, the Overland Campaign, the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, the Atlanta campaign, and more. 1st item: ALS. Double-sided one-page handwritten letter from General William Brimage Bate, front lines of the Atlanta Campaign, to Colonel John S. Fulton, undated, written circa June 14, 1864 in regards to the death of Lieutenant-General Leonidas Polk. The brief letter states that "Lt Gen'l Polk was killed yesterday on my front line--", en verso, while the main body of the letter urges Fulton to "...have it filed in...[the] War's Office at once--& get some friend to take it to the President--I have an interview with him..." he also writes that "...Gen'l Johnson is the man...". He explains that the letter has been delayed due to his frequent movements along the front lines of the Atlanta Campaign. 2nd item: ALS. Three page bifolium handwritten letter from General Bate, from his headquarters to Colonel John S. Fulton, dated April 28, 1864. He begins his letter by stating that he has not heard from Fulton for some time, writing "...I do not know now whether you are in Va. or near Bristol East Tenn. We did hear that your Brigade was with Longstreet...". Bate also mentions that if Fulton was to receive a promotion that he would like to be kept informed and that he "...regrets very much that [Fulton] is not in [Bate's] command...". Bate also reflects upon the state of the Confederate army and the importance of taking back Tennessee from the Union army, writing, " is the 'promised land' now in sack cloth and ashes 'mourning for the loss of her children'...". He also mentions his interest in the career of Captain M.W. Cluskey of Preston Smith Brigade, who fought in the Battle of Shiloh, April 6-7, 1862; that his division has now absorbed the Kentucky Brigade and Finley's (Florida) Brigade; and that a soldier by the name of McWinchester, who was the author to the reply of Ed Erwin's Amnesty letter, is still in prison. 3rd item: ALS. Double-sided bifolium handwritten letter from John R. Bright, Fayetteville, TN, writing to his cousin Colonel Alfred S. Fulton, dated February 21, 1862. The letter describes the Battle of Fort Henry, fought February 6, 1862; the Battle of Fort Donelson, fought from February 11-16, 1862; and the capture of Nashville on February 25, 1862. Bright writes, "...the excitement here has been so great since the fight at Fort cannot realize the intense agony which pervades our community--Donelson has fallen--Nashville is doubtless in the hands of the enemy--Gen[eral John Buchanan] Floyd who was at Nashville after the surrender of has burnt the Rail Road & Wire bridges acro[s]s the Cumberland...". He mentions the Union gunboats, stating, "...the gunboats were at a considerable distance and done no damage..." while later stating, "...the Gun Boats came up to within 200 yds of the Fort and shelled the Fort with 50 rounds of cannister...". Bright also gives estimations of the number of casualties and the number of soldiers involved in the fighting, writing, "...the loss on our side was comparatively small--the best estimate of the enemy's loss in killed is from 4000 to 6000 whilst our loss in killed and wounded does not exceed 600--it seems the enemy was receiving reinforcements, and on Saturday night their reinforcements swelled their army up to about 80,000 whilst our army at no time exceeded 16,000...". Returning to his description of the Battle and ultimate surrender of Fort Donelson, Bright writes "...Saturday night the enemy's whole force moved up and surrounded the Fort--about 1 o'clock Sunday morning the fact became known that the Fort must surrender, and our Generals...[Gideon Johnson] Pillow & Floyd left on a Steamboat...[Simon Bolivar] Buckner was left in command and surrendered with about 8,000 men...". After describing the events of the surrender in additional detail, Bright then relays General Albert Sidney Johnston's part in the events, writing "...Johnson[sic] was at Nashville all the time of the fight but it seems that Pillow telegraphed him that they did not need re-enforcements--Johnson's[sic] army had left Bowlingreen[sic]...and was in the neighborhood of Nashville Saturday when the news reached Nashville on Sunday that Fort Donelson had fallen...Johnson[sic] marched his army through Nashville on Sunday evening falling back to Murfreesboro...". Bright then also describes the fear that overcame the citizens of Nashville, stating that the pandemonium was "...equal if not greater than the retreat from Manassas...". Bright ponders if the Generals or the citizens of Nashville are more to blame for the city's fall, stating that while Johnston did not have to troops to defend the city and that there were many Union sympathizers in Nashville, he finds that "...there are too many [men] panic-stricken that they have not the nerve to stand up or never were true Southern men...". He concludes his letter by stating that McDonald's Regiment was not in the fight, that Albert's brother Colonel John Fulton returned from a few day's visit home, and that "these are gloomy times for us...the army may fall back to Lookout Mountain, if so Tenne[s]see is overrun...". 4th item: ALS. Double-sided bifolium handwritten letter from one of the Fulton brothers, Drewrys Bluff, VA, writing to his brother, dated May 29, 1864. He writes of the Overland Campaign, a series of battles fought in Virginia during May and June 1864, stating, "...Lee and Grant are now confronting each other. They may be fighting at anytime Lee has already killed wounded and captured between 50 & 7500 men--The Yankees...about 35 or 45,000...". He also mentions Maj. Gen. Benjamin Butler's army, writing, "...Butler...has made a signal failure--He came up the Penisula & sought to take Richmond on the south side--but they have been repulsed. He now has his army between the James and Appomattox rivers--". Unsigned. 5th item: Confederate States Secretary of War James Seddon signed military commission document conferring on John S. Fulton, the position of Colonel in the 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, dated May 5, 1862. Includes envelope addressed to Fulton with one blue 10 cent Jefferson Davis stamp. 6th item: ALS. Three page bifolium handwritten letter, from Colonel John S. Fulton, Bean Station, Tennessee, to Colonel Alfred S. Fulton, Bibb City, AL, dated December 17, 1986. He mentions the movements of his division near Knoxville, TN, writing "...We attempted to take Fort Loudon at the edge of Knoxville in the morning of the 29th--but failed--it is one of the strongest forts I ever saw--I think Gen Longstreet acted on this rashly in attacking the fort--We lost some 150 men killed & saw some several hundred wounded-it was a very fatal little fight...". 7th item: ALS. Double-sided one page handwritten letter from James R. Bright, Quartermaster's Office, Granbury's Brigade, to his cousin Mrs. E. L. Rogers, dated May 31, 1864. He begins by referencing a letter that he received, quoting, "...'Some think that [Lt. Colonel John L. McEwen, Jr.] will die, Col Fulton will soon be able to be with the command'...". He also mentions the state of the Army and Nathan Bedford Forrest's movements, writing, "...I am pleased to see that in every encounter our men have nobly sustained our cause and inflicted heavy injury upon the enemy--we are very anxious to hear from Forrest who is believed to be in the enemy's [territory]--if he succeeds in destrying the enemy's stores &c. it will make our success certain...". 8th item: ALS. One page bifolium handwritten letter from E.D. Baker, Captain and A.Q.M., Pulaski, TN, to an unidentified recipient, possibly one of the Fulton Brothers, dated January 17, 1864. The letter mentions that two rooms are now available for occupation and includes an ink inscription by Union General Richard W. Johnson with his signature, dated January 7, 1865, with later pencil inscriptions, en verso. 9th item: ALS. Two and one half-page bifolium handwritten letter from Congressman James McCallum, Richmond, VA, to Colonel John S. Fulton, dated June 6, 1864. The letter acknowledges Fulton's previous letter in which Fulton recommended a Colonel Keeble, possibly Colonel Richard H. Keeble, 23rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, for an undisclosed appointment. McCallum mentions that Colonel Abram Fulkerson, 63rd Tennessee Infantry Regiment, is also up for consideration. 10th-11th items: Two (2) ALS. Double-sided bifolium and double-sided one-page handwritten letters, including one (1) from Colonel John S. Fulton, Headquarters of Johnson's Brigade near Petersberg, VA, to Captain R. E. Foote, dated June 28, 1864, and one (1) from the Head Quarters of the 44th and 25th Tennessee Infantry Regiments, possibly to a Captain Wein(?), dated June 21, 1864. The letters serve as reports regarding the movements of Johnson's Brigade from June 15, and 17-18, 1864, during the Richmond-Petersburg campaign, a series of battles around Petersburg, Virginia, fought from June 9, 1864, to March 25, 1865. 12th item: ALS. One page handwritten letter from Colonel John S. Fulton, Drewry's Bluff, VA, to the Editors of the "Atlanta Register", dated May 20, 1864, prior to the closure of the newspaper office in response to General Sherman's impending Atlanta Campaign. Fulton writes in regards to an article written by a reporter named Giles in the "Atlanta Register", in which the performance of Johnson's Brigade during that Battle of Chickamauga was mentioned. 13th item: ALS. Double-sided bifolium letter from Robert Fulton, 41st Regiment, Tennessee Infantry, Company C, Enterprise, MS, writing to his brother Colonel John S. Fulton, dated August 27, 1863. He begins his letter by expressing regret about the deaths of two family members, mentions that they have moved the position of their camps, and also indicates that they have been having nice weather. He also references several officers, including Captain Tierney, Colonel Ferguson, Adjutant Anthony, and others. 14th-15th items: Two (2) ALS. Double-sided bifolium handwritten letters, including one (1) from Mrs. E. L. Rogers, a sister of the Fultons, written near Jacksonville, AL, and one (1) written by an unidentified source, written from a Camp near Chattanooga, TN, both written to one of the Fulton brothers to inform them of the injury and subsequent death of their brother Robert Fulton, dated October 9-12, 1863. Both letters include handwritten or typed transcriptions. 16th item: ALS. Two and one half bifolium handwritten letter from James R. Bright, Quartermaster's Office, Smith's Brigade, Near Atlanta, GA, to his cousin Mrs. E. L. Rogers, dated July 20, 1864. Writing during the Atlanta Campaign, he begins the letter by expressing his condolences for the death of Colonel John S. Fulton, who died on July 4, 1864 during the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign. He also mentions other soldiers who have been wounded, including Edwin Drake and John Drake, and Tobe Edmondson and Tom Miller, whom he states have been captured by the Yankees who he thinks "...will probably execute them...". 17th-20th items: Four (4) ALS. Double-sided bifolium and double-sided one-page handwritten letters written between Colonel Alfred S. Fulton, Bibb County, AL, to R. G. Cross, Adjutant, 44th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, dated July 18, September 3 and 23, and November 17, 1864. The letters were written in response to the recent death of Colonel John S. Fulton, including discussions pertaining to the disposal of his remains and financial matters. 21st item: ALS. One handwritten page from John Frizzell, Transportation Office, Atlanta, GA to Captain Jim C. Francis, Augusta, GA, dated February 22, 1864. The letter introduces Colonel John S. Fulton to Francis. Includes one envelope. 22nd item: Piece of Confederate-made letter paper with ink inscription dated 1862 and pencil inscription of two lines of verse titled "The Conquered Banner".

Property of the Lincoln County Museum, Fayetteville, TN; Bequest of Mary Bright Wilson (1909-2004), formerly of Fayetteville, and descended in her family.


All items in overall good, legible condition with toning/acid burn, tears, staining, foxing spots, areas of loss, including to sections of letters, to be expected from age and manner of use.