1863 CONFEDERATE CORPS OF ARMY ENGINEERS LETTER – CAPT. STEPHEN W. PRESSTMAN

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Dated “”Hd Qrs. Engr. Dept. A.T./ Oct. 6 1863”. Addressed to “Capt. R.P. Rowley/ Engr in charge Chickamauga”. 2pp., in ink, on line paper, 8 x 4.75”. Slightly yellowed; exhibits fold-marks and mounting stain along right margin. Else VG and entirely legible. In protective sleeve, accompanied by documentation.

This letter is from a collection of war-time correspondence of R.P. Rowley who served in various posts, at various ranks, with the Confederate Corps of Army Engineers. Rowley was a talented Arkansas who was promoted eventually to Lt. Colonel, serving first with the Army of Tennessee and later in the Trans-Miss Dept., where he superintended engineering projects in the districts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. At the war’s end he returned to Arkansas, serving in the state legislature, residing on a Mississippi River plantation in Lonoke county, where he died in 1899. The Rowley collection affords many glimpses into the activities and personnel of the Confederate Corps of Engineers, both in the Armies of Tennessee and Trans. Miss.

This letter is signed by Stephen William Presstman, a 31 year old Alexandria, VA., resident and civil engineer who enlisted in June 1861 as Captain in the 17th VA Infantry. Transferring to the Corps of Engineers, he was promoted eventually to Lt. Colonel and Chief Engineer of the Army of Tennessee. He was accidently killed in a railway accident at Danville, VA, 1/31/1864.

Two generals are referred to in this note. The first is referred in this note. The first is William Whan Macall, an 1837 West Point graduate and friend of fellow classmate Braxton Bragg, under whom he served at the Battle of Chickamauga, later serving as General Johnston’s Army of Tennessee Chief of Staff; the second is The second is General Carter Littlepage Stevenson who held divisional command in the Army of Tennessee through the end of the war.

Text:

“Captain…..Genl. Macall informs me that Genl. Stevenson has been instructed to furnish you with working details. Please let me know if they have reported to you, and if so, how many. Also whether any lumber or nails have arrived for me. Keep me advised of the different arrivals of such things they reach the station/ Respy/ S.W.Presstman/ Capt. & Chf Engr. A.T./ over [2nd page]……Please distribute the enclosed letters & documents to the Engr. Troops with you/ Yrs. S.W.P.”

This note is dated three weeks after the Battle of Chickamauga [Sept. 19-20, 1863]. Invites further research.

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