ARMY OF TENNESSEE STAFF LETTER - CONFEDERATE CORPS OF ENGINEERS, CAPT. R.P. ROWLEY

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Dated “Hd Qrs Engineer Dept. A.T./ Chattanooga, Tenn./ July 29 1863/ Special Orders/ No. 53”” 2 pp., in ink, 6.5 x 7.75”. Exhibits fold-marks, w/chipping & light mount stain along right margin. Else VG and entirely legible. In protective sleeve, accompanied by documentation.

This note 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 o 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. The correspondence contains a trove of information concerning Army of Ten. & Trans.Miss. engineering activity, while mentioning numerous prominent officers.

Text:

“Captain R.P. Rowley Engr Corps will proceed by Rail to Athens Tenn. and carry out instructions given him at this office & return without delay. By command of Gen’l Bragg/ S.W. Presstman/ Capt & Chief Engr A.T.”

Reverse endorsement: “Transportation furnished in kind from Chattanooga GA., to Athens Tenn. July 29, 1863/ Jno. S. Bransford/ Maj & Adt”.

Stephen William Presstman was a 31 year old Alexandria, VA. resident and civil engineer who enlisted in June 1861 as Captain in the 1`7th Infantry. Transferring to the Corps of Engineers , he was promoted eventually Lt. Colonel and Chief Engineer of the Army of Tennesse. He was eventually killed in a railway accident at Danville, VA. 1/31/1864.

John S. Bransford enlisted as a major and served on the Army of Tenneessee staff throughout the war.

The note was sent three weeks after Rosecran’s Union Tullahoma offensive that had driven Gen. Bragg’s Army of Tenn. back to Chattanooga. The Battle of Chickamauga, resulting in an Army of Tenn., was six weeks in the future. Solid Army of Tenn. collectible.

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