STAFF OFFICER LETTER - CONFEDERATE CORPS OF ENGINEERS—CAPT. R. P. ROWLEY

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Item Code: 766-74

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Dated “Hd  Qrs Engr. Dept A.T.  Lafayette Ga. Sept 16 1863. Special Orders No. 73.”  1pp., in ink, on lined paper, 4.75 x 7.75. Exhibits fold-marks, slight yellowing, light chipping at right and lower margins; light mount staining on right margin. Else VG and entirely legible. In protective, accompanied by documentation.

This letter is from a collection of war-time correspondence of R.P. Rowley who served in various post, at various ranks, with the Confederate Corps of Army Engineers. On the eve of war, Rowley was a talented young Arkansas engineer who gravitated to the Corps of engineers and was eventually promoted to Lt. Colonel, serving first with the Army of Tennessee and later in the Trans-Miss. Dept., where he superintended army engineering projects in the districts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. At the war’s end he returned to Arkansas, served in the state legislature, while residing on a Mississippi River Plantation, where he died in 1899. This correspondence contains a trove of information concerning Army of Tennessee and Trans. Miss. Engineering activity,  while mentioning numerous officers of prominence.. This particular letter cites activities of famed cavalry commander Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Text:

“I.  Capt. R.P. Rowley Engr. Will at once proceed to Ringgold Ga and will without delay superintend the rebuilding of the Bridges on the Atlanta and Chattanooga Rail Road near Ringgold, lately destroyed by Genl Forrest.

11. Lt. I. D. Thomas Engr will report for duty to Capt Rowley.

111. . Capt. H. N. Pharr and Lt. T. S. Newcomb commdg companies of Engineer troops will without delay report with their commands to Capt. Rowley for duty at Ringgold Ga.

By Command of Genl Bragg/ S.W. Presstman/Chf Engr  A.T”

Stephen William Presstman was 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 Engineering he was promoted to eventually Lt. Colonel and Chief Engineer of the Army of Tennessee. He was accidently killed a railway accident, at Danville, VA., 1/31/1864.

Written in September 1863,  a week before the Battle of Chickamauga, this letter refers to N.B. Forrest’s activities on the Atlanta and Chattanooga railroads. Already a legendary figure by the summer 1863, Forrest would eventually be given an independent command in Northern Mississippi and West Tennessee, and be promoted to Lieutenant General by the War’s end.

Superb Army of Tennessee collectible.

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