COLONEL HEROS VON BORCKE’S, “MEMOIRS OF THE CONFEDERATE WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE” WITH ORIGINAL JOURNAL PAGE

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Item Code: 924-21

Offered here is the 1981 Palaemon Press printing of Heros Von Borcke’s, “A German Narrative of the First Four Parts of Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence - 26 April – 8 October 1862”, which includes an original journal leaf written by the Prussian officer. Von Borcke traveled with the Confederate armies under Jeb Stuart and observed military operations and life during the Civil War. After the war, he hand-inscribed his 180-page long journal in German, therefore the publisher printed 180 copies with each having an original leaf tucked inside. This volume is numbered 110. Journal leaf measures approx. 6” by 7 ¾”. Journal was translated by Stuart Wright, who wrote the introduction to this printing. Forward is by Richard Harwell. Book has a bibliography and index. 224 pp. Slipcase measures 7" x 10.5". Excellent condition.

Book is housed in original black slipcase with a printed paper title to the front cover. A black and white photograph of Von Borcke is on the rear cover. Original ivory cloth binding with black and gilt label to the front board and spine. An original manuscript leaf is loosely laid in between pages 138-139 from Von Borcke's journal. It is inscribed on the front and back. Content of page is after the date of August 31 about the battle of Second Manassas. It tells of von Borcke being devasted at the death and destruction after the battle, and how difficult it was for him to find General Jackson. He finally found him together with General Lee near the famous Stone Bridge over Bull Run. He delivered information to them then rode to General Fitzhugh Lee, where they attacked by the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. He captured a new horse and two U.S. officers who were old friends of General Stuart’s and Fitz Lee’s. They officers were allowed to ride freely with them to meet up with General Stuart.

Johann August Heinrich Heros von Borcke (1835 – 1895), known as the "giant in gray" was over six feet four in height and well over two hundred pounds, with curly blond hair and laughing eyes. Born to an aristocratic German family, his childhood was spent in Berlin and Halle before receiving a superb Prussian military education. Von Borcke was commissioned an ensign in 1853 and admitted to the Cuiraisser Regiment of Guards as a cadet. In 1860, he was posted as second lieutenant to the Second Brandenburg Regiment of Dragoons, but saw little action. After his release from the Prussian Army, he embarked upon the adventure of his life- he sailed for Bermuda intent on joining the Confederate Army. Speaking almost no English, he had managed to secure letters of introduction to Confederate authorities, and he slipped into South Carolina's Charleston Harbor on a blockade runner on May 24, 1862. He next traveled to Richmond where he met with Confederate Secretary of War George Randolph who presented him with a letter of introduction to Major General J.E.B. Stuart. A deep friendship developed between the two men immediately and von Borcke was made a captain in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States and soon promoted to the rank of major. Von Bourcke could be entertaining and told wonderful stories with his think accent, but he could also be a bit vain and difficult to get along with at times, especially for his servants. His horses were as big as his extra-long sword, a huge of a blade forged in Solingen of Damascus steel. He rode with Stuart, who affectionately called him "Von", during the Northern Virginia Campaign and the Maryland Campaign, acquiring a reputation for bravery, and he served with Stuart the Battle of Middleburg on June 19, 1863, where he suffered a severe wound. The examining doctor thought the wound, which pierced the lung, mortal, but von Borcke woke up the next morning determined to live. He did, although he was incapacitated for the rest of the year. He resumed his duties in the spring of 1864, and was present at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in which J.E.B. Stuart was killed, and he sat by Stuart's side at his deathbed. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in December of that year, and was voted the official thanks of the Confederate Congress and sent on a diplomatic mission to England by President Jefferson Davis. When the Confederacy collapsed in 1865, von Borcke returned to his native Prussia and resumed his military career. He fought in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War, receiving the coveted Order of the Red Eagle for his gallantry, but his old wounds always plagued him, and he retired from the Prussian Army as Captain in 1867, settling in Neumarkt, East Prussia. While in London, he had written articles for the pro-Confederate 'Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine' and he published them in book form as "Memoirs of the Confederate War for Independence" in 1877. He inherited a castle at Geisenbrugge in Pomerania, and he proudly flew the Confederate flag alongside the Prussian flag from its battlements. He and his wife Magdalene Honig had three sons and, when she died in 1883, he married her sister and they had a daughter named Karoline Virginia, in honor of his adopted and beloved southern state back in America. In 1884, he sailed back to the United States for a reunion with many former friends and comrades. Here he was welcomed with enthusiasm at many events where the legacy of the Confederacy was celebrated. He presented his famous sword to the State of Virginia, who later placed in the Museum of the Confederacy. Von Borcke returned to Germany and moved to Berlin, but he died on May 10, 1895, just a few months after his trip to America, proud to the end of his service for the South. He died from blood poisoning most likely due to the after-effects of the injuries received at Middleburg.  [sl]

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