Knoxville (865) 558-3033 • Nashville (615) 812-6096 •

Case Auctions
Live Auction

Summer Fine Art & Antiques Auction - Day 1

Sat, Jul 8, 2023 09:00AM EDT
Lot 559

Mason Family of KY Letter Archive, incl. Civil War Battle of Perryville

Estimate: $500 - $700
Sold for

Bid Increments

Price Bid Increment
$0 $10
$100 $25
$500 $50
$1,000 $100
$3,000 $200
$5,000 $500
$10,000 $1,000
$20,000 $2,000
$50,000 $5,000
$100,000 $10,000
Thirty-two (32) autographed letters signed (ALS) primarily written by Peter Baynhum Mason (1804-1870) of Danville, Kentucky to his wife Katherine "Kate" Aylett White Miller Shreve Mason (1820/22-1885) of Greensburg, KY, including (7) Civil War era letters that discuss the Battle of Perryville; the hanging of Union Captain H. King; Union and Confederate movements in the area; Union General Ambrose Everett Burnside (1824-1881) and his buying of cattle; the situation of African Americans in the area, including the sewing of clothes for "The Contraband" and rate of payment for railroad work, and other events. 1st item: ALS. One page double-sided handwritten letter from P.B. Mason to his wife Katherine A. Mason, dated October 31, 1862. Mason writes of the recently fought Battle of Perryville, also known as the Battle of Chaplin Hills, fought on October 8, 1862, writing that he had visited Danville, Kentucky for the first time since the battle. He also writes of the soldiers involved in the fighting, stating that he "...picked up a Georgia soldier and had brought him home...there are a great many Yankees at Danville and are dying fast." He also mentions the situation in Stanford, writing that he had been advised not to visit as "...Southern Rights people had to leave there on account of a Marauder by the name of Bridgewater who said he would kill 1000 of them for the hanging of King..." Mason also mentions that Bittie and Jane went down to the battlefield, but does not specify which one and mentions seeing Kate in the near future. Note: The "hanging of King" refers to an incident in which Union Captain H. King, his two sons, and some fifteen others were hanged by command of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith (1824-1893) at Cumberland Ford, in Knox County during his retreat from Kentucky. In retaliation, William King, who was Captain King's brother, hanged at least four Confederate soldiers who had been paroled in Crab Orchard and Rockcastle County. (source: New York Times article, page 3, dated November 30, 1862: 2nd item: ALS. One page double-sided handwritten letter from P. B. Mason to his wife Kate Mason, dated March 22, 1863. Mason mostly writes of the Yankees movements, stating that "...Yankees called to see if any rebele[sic] soldiers were here..." and that "...The most important news here is that the Yankees have left Danville for Somerset to meet the rebels who are said to be in considerable force in Wain[sic] County--I fear Kentucky will see sights this spring and summer--..." Note: The Battle of Somerset (or Dutton's Hill) was fought on March 31, 1863; General John Pegram led a Confederate cavalry raid into central Kentucky which was defeated by Union forces under General Quincy A. Gillmore. 3rd item: ALS. One-page double-sided handwritten letter from P. B. Mason to his wife Kate Mason, dated March 29, 1863. Mason writes again of the Yankee and Rebel movements in Danville, writing that the Yankees have been pushed out of the city and that it was occupied by the Confederates until they were able to buy up about "...3000 head of cattle and many horses and started south again..." burning the Dicks river bridge as they left. He also mentions the price that he and others received for the cattle and land, writing, "...The Rebs took 9 head of cattle from me at $40 per head..." Mason also mentions the results of the fighting at Danville "...1 [Confederate] killed, 2 wounded, several horses killed and about 100 ...taken prisoners.." He also mentions an incident in which "...Mrs. Tom Mitchel cashier of the Danville bank was shot through and died, the ball pas[s]ing through a negro woman at the same time (accidental) from a stray shot throught he window..." Mason refers to fighting that occurred on the Lexington Pike near their daughter Ida's school, stating "...she says she could not help looking out at the windows when thye were fighting along there..." 4th item: ALS. One-page double-sided handwritten letter from P. B. Mason to his wife Kate Mason, dated October 22, 1863. Mason mostly writes of the status of his livestock and the position of General Burnside, writing "...I have soald[sic] my hogg[sic] to Gen Burnside for $4,00--He has taken all the hogs in this & surrounding counties--he [waits] at L[o]udon and Knoxville and intermediate ports...but I shall not furnish any Burnside or [Union General William Starke] Rosecrans..." 5th item: ALS. One-page double-sided handwritten letter from P. B. Mason to his wife Kate Mason, dated November 14, 1863. Mason writes of his progress working the farm and crops and of an important vote that will occur to the benefit of Democrats in Ohio. Mason mentions that William Shreve, Kate's son from her marriage to her second husband, has written him asking for his coat, possibly while he was a Prisoner of War at Camp Douglas, IL. He also mentions that "...I shall look for you home very soon; for all cloth making ought to be home this time of year. The Ohio women are now very busy sewing for their negroes (the Contraband)..." During the War, the term "contraband" came to be associated with African Americans escaping the South or slavery. Written after the events of the Battle of Chickamauga, fought on September 19-20, 1863, Mason also mentions that he might "...learn what [Confederate General Braxton] Bragg has done with Rosecrans..." Note: William White Shreve (1846/47-1863) is believed to have served as a Private in the 6th Regiment, Kentucky Cavalry. The 6th Cavalry Regiment was organized during the summer of 1862 with men from the central and eastern section of Kentucky. It was mustered into Confederate service in September. For a time the unit skirmished in Kentucky attached to Buford's Brigade, then it fought with J.H. Morgan. Most of its members were captured at Buffington Island on July 19 and the remaining part at New Lisbon on July 26, 1863. Shreve was a POW at Camp Douglas, IL where his died in 1863 and Kate crossed enemy lines to visit him in prison prior to his death. (adapted from: 6th item: ALS. One-page double-sided handwritten letter from P. B. Mason to his wife Kate Mason, dated January 14, 1964. Mason's letter states that "...We have very dull times now--no news of importance..." in regards to the war. Of the "...citizens of African decent[sic]..." he writes that "...there seems to be a good many young negroes dying the neighborhood and a good deal of sickne[s]s among [them]..." but also mentions that "...our rail road men are not pre[s]sing negroes now, but hiring them at $14 per month--..." 7th item: ALS. Two-page double-sided handwritten letter from T. D.(?) Maney of Canton, Madison County, Mississippi, to Kate Mason of Danville, KY, dated October 14, 1865. Maney, who was a Confederate soldier and alludes to staying with the Masons for a time during or after the war before heading back to Mississippi [possibly the soldier from GA referred to in the 1st item], writes that he has been "...very busily engaged for some months past in managing a plantation and that has taken all my time..." While Maney expresses gratitude for all that the Masons did to help him, he states that "...the long tedious and bloody struggle has ended and it has left me at the bottom of the "ladder" we gained nothing by the war but lost everything...I have lost some relations and some dear friends by the war they died at their posts that is one consolation for the finger of scorn can never be pointed at their past history as soldiers. I have been fortunate to get out with my life but to tell the truth I would have rather died a soldier's death if I had have been prepared for than to live to see what a fate befel[sic] us..." Of his current position, Maney writes "...I am staying on a plantation managing Freedmen at present..." He also inquires about several acquaintances he made while he stayed with them, including Jimmie Mason and William Shreve, Kate's son, and describes some of the difficulties he had while traveling back down south to Mississippi." 8th-19th items: Twelve (12) letters written between P.B. Mason and Kate Mason, including five (5) written prior to their marriage in 1858 that mainly discuss wedding plans and the integration of their families, dated February 11 to March 18, 1858, and seven (7) pre Civil War letters from the that discuss the impending war, including one letter dated December 20, 1860 in which P.B. Mason refers to his going " Louisville to save the Union...", dated May 26 to December 22, 1860. 20- 32nd items: Twelve (12) pre-Civil War, Civil War, and post-Civil War letters primarily written by P.B. Mason and Kate Mason between themselves and other members of their family that mainly concern the farm, post-war debts, and illnesses, dated November 2, 1857 to September 7, 1885.


All items in overall good condition with toning, foxing spots, some areas of dampstaining, tears along fold lines, largest 1 3/4", areas of loss, and general handling wear to be expected from age. The majority of the letters do not include envelopes. Some letters are incomplete, partial condition.

Available payment options

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Amex
  • Diners
  • Discover
  • JCB
  • Union Pay

Payment must be received no later than five (5) days after the sale.

If paying with a credit card, a 3% credit card processing fee will be applied to the final sales price (i.e. hammer price + buyer's premium + applicable taxes). If you have a credit card on file with Case, any winning bids will be automatically charged (up to $3000) along with applicable fees 72 hours after you receive your invoice unless other arrangements have been made.

If paying with wire transfer, please use the following information:
Bank: Pinnacle Bank
150 Third Avenue South, Suite 900
Nashville, TN 37201
Phone # (865) 766-3000
Swift Code: PNFPUS44
Routing, Transit, ABA: 064008637
Beneficiary: Case Antiques, Inc.
4310 Papermill Drive
Knoxville, TN 37909
Account #: NOT DISCLOSED (please refer to your invoice email for the Deposit Account Number or contact us )

Descended through the family of Katherine "Kate" Aylett White Miller Shreve Mason (1820/22-1885), of Greensburg, KY.