1864 Civil War Letter From Confederate Col. Sandie Pendleton, Re:james Mulligan
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1864 Civil War Letter From Confederate Col. Sandie Pendleton, Re:james Mulligan:
1864 Civil War letter from Confederate Col. Sandie Pendleton, re:James Mulligan
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A rare historical document!
July 26, 1864 signed letter from Alexander "Sandie" Pendleton, Lieutenant Colonel of the Confederate Army, granting permission for Union Army Colonel James Mulligan's wife to cross Conferate lines and retrive his body.
James A. Mulligan was colonel of the 23rd Illinois Voluteer Infantry Regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was fatally wounded during the Second Battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Virginia on July 24th, 1864. Mulligan's soldiers attempted to carry him to safety, but the unyeilding Confederate fire made this an impossible task and he gave them the famous order to: "LAY ME DOWN AND SAVE THE Flag." Mulligan's men reluctantly complied. Confederate soldiers captured Mulligan and carried him to a nearby home, where he died two days later.
In this letter, Pendleton directs Maj. Rogers to proceed to Winchester with Mrs. Mulligan "under his such aid as may be necessary in reaching Col. Mulligan, or obtaining his body & effects" as ordered by Lt. General Early. It is signed by "A. S. Pendelton" at the bottom.
Condition: There are creases where the paper was originally folded. The paper has yellowed and there is some wear to the edges. Please see the photos for additional details and the most accurate description of its condition.
Alexander Swift "Sandie" Pendleton (September 28, 1840 – September 23, 1864) was an officer on the staff of Confederate Generals Thomas J. Jackson, Richard S. Ewell and Jubal A. Early during the American Civil War.
Early life and careerSandie Pendleton was born in Alexandria, Virginia, the only son of future Confederate General William N. Pendleton and his wife Anzolette Elizabeth Page. He spent most of his childhood in Maryland before his father accepted the rectorship of Grace Church in Lexington, Virginia. He attended Washington College, where he first met Stonewall Jackson who was part of the same literary society. He graduated in 1857 and enrolled at the University of Virginia where he was studying for a master of arts degree when the civil war broke out.
Civil WarAt the outbreak of war, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Provisional Army of Virginia and was ordered to Harpers Ferry. Stonewall Jackson was in command of the Confederate forces in Harpers Ferry and he requested Pendleton join his staff as ordnance officer. He soon showed his capabilities as a staff officer and Jackson appointed him assistant adjutant general on his staff. He served Jackson in every battle until the latter's death at the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863.
Following Jackson's death, he continued his service on the Second Corps staff under its new commander, Richard S. Ewell during the Gettysburg Campaign. In 1864, when Jubal A. Early assumed command of the second corps, he promoted Pendleton to chief of staff with the rank of lieutenant colonel. The Second Corps returned to the Shenandoah Valley in the summer 1864 and mounted the last Confederate invasion of the north.
Following this, the Union assigned Major General Philip Sheridan to put down resistance in the valley once and for all. Early was defeated at the Third Battle of Winchester on September 19, 1864, forcing the Confederates to retreat to nearby Fisher's Hill. When Union forces attacked on September 22, 1864, Pendleton was fatally wounded in the abdomen. He was moved to the nearby town of Woodstock, where he died the following day, September 23, 1864. Initially interred near the battlefield his body was exhumed and returned to his family in Lexington where he was buried near Stonewall Jackson on October 24, 1864.
Personal lifePendleton met Kate Corbin when the Confederate army was stationed in the vicinity of Fredericksburg during the winter of 1862. The two were engaged just prior to the Chancellorsville campaign in 1863 and married in December of that year. Kate was pregnant at the time of Sandie's death and gave birth to a son, Sandie, a month later. The child contracted diphtheria and died in September 1865. Kate Corbin next married John Mercer Brooke and is buried beside him near where Stonewall Jackson was originally buried. Kate Corbin of "Mossneck" and Diane Fontaine Maury-Corbin (dau. Matthew Fontaine Maury was married Spotswood Wellford Corbin of "Farley Vale") were related by marriage in the Corbin family of Va.
James A. Mulligan (1829–1864) was colonel of the 23rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. On February 20, 1865, the United States Senate confirmed the posthumous award to Colonel Mulligan of the rank of brevet brigadier general of U.S. Volunteers to rank from July 23, 1864, the day before he was mortally wounded at the Second Battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Virginia. He commanded the Federal forces at the First Battle of Lexington in Missouri, and later distinguished himself in other engagements in the Eastern theater prior to his death in battle.
Early lifeJames Mulligan was born in 1829 in Ithaca, New York. His parents had immigrated from Ireland, and his father died when he was a child. His mother remarried a Michael Lantry of Chicago, Illinois, and moved there with her son, who later attended the Catholic College of North Chicago. From 1852–54 Mulligan read law in the offices of Isaac N. Arnold, U.S. Representative from the city. He was admitted to the bar in 1856, and commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the "Chicago Shield Guards".
Raising the Irish BrigadeAt the onset of the Civil War, Mulligan raised the 23rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment in 1861, which was locally known as the "Irish Brigade" (not to be confused with a New York unit by the same name). This unit included the "Chicago Shield Guards". In September 1861, he led his troops toward Lexington, Missouri, as word had been received that this vital river town would be attacked by the pro-Confederate Missouri State Guard under Major General Sterling Price.
Battle of LexingtonThe Battle of Lexington, often referred to as the "Battle of the Hemp Bales", commenced on September 13, 1861, when 12,500 soldiers of the Missouri State Guard began a siege of Mulligan's diminutive command (only 3,500 in all), entrenched around the town's old Masonic College. On September 18, Price's army mounted an all-out assault on Mulligan's works, which failed. Cannon fire continued throughout the 19th. On the 20th, units of Price's army used hemp bales soaked in the Missouri River as a moving breastworks to work their way up the river bluffs toward Mulligan's headquarters. By 2:00 p.m., Mulligan had surrendered. Combined casualties were 64 dead, and 192 wounded. Price was reportedly so impressed by Mulligan's demeanor and conduct during and after the battle that he offered him his own horse and buggy, and ordered him safely escorted to Union lines.
Camp DouglasColonel Mulligan was commander of Camp Douglas, a prisoner of war camp at Chicago, IL, between February 25, 1862 and June 14, 1862. The camp had been constructed as a short term training camp for Union soldiers but was converted to a prisoner of war camp for captured Confederate soldiers after the fall of Fort Donelson, on February 16, 1862. One in eight of the prisoners from Fort Donelson died of pneumonia and various diseases. The camp became infamous for its inhumane condition and large death toll. Colonel Mulligan may have been a poor administrator, but unlike some later commandants, he had made efforts to improve conditions at the camp which were hampered by an inadequate budget and bureaucratic indifference. He may have been influenced in his effort to improve conditions at the camp by his treatment by General Price after he was captured at Lexington, MO.
Middle Department dutyColonel Mulligan and his regiment were assigned to the Railroad Division of the Middle Department between December 17, 1862 and March 27, 1863. Then they were assigned to Brigade 5, Division 1, VIII Corps in the Middle Department between March 27, 1863 and June 26, 1863.
Fort MulliganBetween August and December 1863, Mulligan oversaw the construction of Fort Mulligan, an earthworks fortification located in Grant County, West Virginia. Confederate Major General Jubal Early would later pay tribute to Mulligan's engineering skill after occupying the fort during his Valley Campaigns of 1864. This fort remains one of the best-preserved Civil War fortifications in West Virginia, and has become a local tourist attraction.
Battle of LeetownOn July 3, 1864, only three weeks before his death, Colonel Mulligan distinguished himself in the Battle of Leetown, fought in and around Leetown, Virginia between Union Major General Franz Sigel and Confederate Major General Jubal Early. Federal troops were retreating in the face of Early's relentless advance down the Shenandoah Valley during his Second Valley Campaign. Hoping to buy time to concentrate Union forces and supplies, Sigel ordered Mulligan to hold Leestown for as long as humanly possible. The colonel was only allotted two regiments of infantry (including his old 23rd Illinois), five pieces of artillery, and 1,000 dismounted cavalrymen; he would face six Confederate infantry divisions, five brigades of cavalry and three battalions of artillery. Mulligan was told to expect no help whatsoever; he was to hold as long as possible, then conduct a fighting retreat as slowly as possible to cover the other withdrawing Union units.
The battle began at 6:00 a.m. on the morning of July 3 when Major General Robert Ransom, in command of Early's cavalry, ordered Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson to attack at Leetown. At the same time another cavalry unit charged 600 Union cavalry stationed at Darkesville, while 1,100 Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. John McCausland swung around the Union force at North Mountain and Williamsport Road, capturing the North Mountain Depot.
Colonel Mulligan led his minuscule force out of their trenches after Johnson's initial charge, driving the attackers back upon the divisions of Generals Robert Rodes and Stephen D. Ramseur. Although the outcome of the battle was a foregone conclusion, Mulligan managed to hold Early's main force at Leestown for the entire day before being compelled to give way—albeit very slowly. Mulligan continued to battle Early all the way from Leestown to Martinsburg, Virginia, buying valuable time for Union commanders to concentrate their forces in the Valley.
DeathOn July 24, 1864, Mulligan led his troops into the Second Battle of Kernstown, near Winchester, Virginia. Late in the afternoon, Major General John B. Gordon’s Confederate force attacked Mulligan's 1,800 soldiers from ground beyond Opequon Church. Mulligan briefly held off Gordon's units, but Confederate Major General John C. Breckinridge, a former U.S. Vice President, led a devastating flank attack against the Irishmen from the east side of the Valley Pike. Sharpshooters under Confederate Major General Stephen D. Ramseur then attacked Mulligan’s right flank from the west. Now encompassed on three sides, the Union battle line fell apart.
With Confederates closing from all around, Mulligan ordered his troops to withdraw. As he stood up in his saddle to spur his men on, Southern sharpshooters concealed in a nearby streambed managed to hit the Union commander. Mulligan’s soldiers endeavored to carry him to safety, but the unyielding Confederate fire made this an impossible task. Mulligan was well aware of his situation, and the danger his men were in, and so he famously ordered: "Lay me down and save the Flag." Mulligan’s men reluctantly complied. Confederate soldiers captured Mulligan, and carried the mortally-wounded Colonel into a nearby home, where he died two days later.
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