CDV OF CONFEDERATE DIPLOMAT & STAFF OFFICER J.W. WALKER FEARN

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Item Code: 1138-1410

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CDV of John William Walker Fearn in Confederate captain's uniform. Chest-up profile view in double-breasted coat with captain's collar insignia. Image is clear with good contrast. Plain mount. Photographer's backmark, Penabert & Co., from Paris, New York, and Habana.

John Williams Walker Fearn (January 13, 1832 – April 7, 1899). Fearn studied law and was admitted to the local bar on his twenty-first birthday. Quite soon he practiced before the U.S. Supreme Court. He accepted the offer to become secretary of the legation to Brussels in 1853, and used the opportunity to listen to international law lectures in Paris, before becoming secretary of the legation to Mexico. He later traveled through Europe. In 1861, before the war broke out, Fearn was a member of a Confederate commission "to induce the peaceful intervention of foreign powers." Fort Sumter ended these hopes, and upon his return from Europe Walker had to run the blockade under fire with his charge being "eleven hundred barrels of explosive." Soon safe in Richmond, he was appointed a Lt. Colonel. On the staff of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, but this was soon set aside so he might accompany L. Q. C. Lamar to Russia as secretary. When the Czar refused to receive Lamar, Fearn returned to the U.S. and joined the staff of Gen. William Preston. He and Preston, however, were soon sent to Mexico on yet another failed diplomatic mission. Late in the war he would be again in the field, this time as an A.A.G. to Edmund Kirby Smith. Other fragmented records suggest that he enlisted in Company A, 3rd Alabama Infantry (Mobile Cadets) early in the war.

At war's end Fearn settled in New Orleans and devoted himself to admiralty law. In 1884, he took the chair of Spanish and Italian at Tulane University. But as appointment as Minister to Greece, Romania, and Serbia in April 1885, would pull him from academic life. In 1887, with the change of administrations, he established an international law firm with offices in London and New York City, remaining until 1891, when he became chief of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs of the World's Fair in Chicago. When the fair closed, President Grover Cleveland appointed Fearn a judge of the court of first instance on the International Tribunal in Cairo, Egypt. Before he left, Yale recognized his attainments with an honorary M. A. Fearn would return to American in failing health and died not long after.

"Walker" Fearn died on April 8, 1899 and is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

Photo from the late William Turner collection.  [jet] [ph:L]

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