Nov 17, 2016 - Sale 2432

Sale 2432 - Lot 114

Price Realized: $ 1,500
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 800 - $ 1,200
"TELL ALL THE NEGROS HOWDY FOR ME" (CIVIL WAR--CONFEDERATE.) Cooper, William T. 5 letters from a soldier in the 12th Alabama Infantry, with related papers. 10 items, most with moderate wear, one with a tape repair. Vp, 1861-64, 1874

Additional Details

Like many Confederate regiments, losses were staggering in the 12th Alabama Infantry, which served its whole term in the bloody Virginia theater. By one count, they began with 1196 soldiers in 1861, and only about 50 were still with them at Appomattox for the surrender. Cooper was not one of them, though he lasted longer than most. He began the war full of optimism and enthusiasm. On 29 August 1861 he wrote "we expect to march on to Washington City as quick as we can, for then is the time to make the blow, while we have the ball in motion. . . . It was my duty to go in the defence of my country. . . . Tell all the Negros howdy for me, and tell them that I hope that I shall see them all again. Tell them to obey their marster, for a marster is better than none."
By 24 January 1863, he was trying desperately to find a valid substitute so he could escape from the service: "The man that we sent up here . . . was an old scoundle & forthermore I want to be shure to never pay him another sent of money as the old rascal thout that he would come up here & look around & get his expenses paid." A substitute had been sent by the father of another soldier in the regiment: "Mr. Taylor gave 2750 dollars for that man, so see what a man will do for his son to get him of these wars."
His last letter, dated 30 September 1864, describes a demoralized army: "In the fight at Winchester there was a general stampede after Gen. Rodes was killed but our brigade was the only one that left the field in eny order & from what I can learn saved the army from ruin besides protecting the wagon train from being captured. . . . About my saddle you can do just as you like about it, as I have lost all hope of ever being free to use eny thing that I ever had again. . . . I do not like the idea of giving evrything a pore fellow had to the support of Jeff Divis in his foolishness, as I think that if he would he might stop this war on some kind of terms, which would be better than having us all killed." Records show that Cooper died soon after in the defense of Petersburg.
Also included are 3 letters to Cooper from women at home in Opelika, AL and Virginia, 1863-64; an apparently unrelated letter from Captain Louis Cabot on the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry describing raids, 3 February 1864; and a 1874 deed to D.J. Taylor, 1874.