Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 49

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 4,000 - $ 6,000
(CIVIL WAR--CONFEDERATE--NAVY.) Letters on the early naval defense of Savannah, including letters from Captain Josiah Tattnall. 9 items in one folder, various sizes; minor to moderate wear, some with scrapbook remnants on one edge verso. June 1861-May 1863

Additional Details

Most of these letters were addressed to Lieutenant Joel S. Kennard (1819-1901), commanding the CSS Sampson and then the CSS Isondiga in the defenses of Savannah. Includes:

4 Letters Signed by Captain Josiah Tattnall III (1795-1871), flag officer of the Savannah fleet, August 1861 to February 1862. On 14 August 1861, he wrote "A fort is to be erected on the north end of Warsaw [Wassaw] Island . . . some ninety or an hundred slaves have been loaned by their masters for that purpose. The owners fear that the defenceless condition of the island and its proximity to the enemy may induce the latter to make a sudden landing in which the safety of the slaves can only be secured by their prompt removal." Kennard is directed to defend the island and take whatever action is needed. Tattnall adds: "The engines of the two steamers being entirely above water forbids their exposure to the fire of the enemy, but on special or pressing occasions. Any injury to them may greatly impede, if not entirely destroy, the plan now in progress for the naval defence of this coast." On 20 December 1861, Tattnall requests a guard boat to be posted at the edge of the marsh: "The chief duty of this guard boat will be to prevent boats with Negros passing unobserved up or down the river by keeping close to or within the marsh." Also included is an order issued on Tattnall's behalf on 26 June 1861.

2 Letters Signed by Commander Richard Lucian Page (1807-1901). One forwards a copy of a directive from the Secretary of the Navy, requesting detailed reports on how many times the naval batteries have been fired, 12 April 1863. Another orders Kennard to the village of Thunderbolt near Savannah, authorizing him to "attack the enemy of an equal force or harass him in any way," 25 April 1863. A retained draft letter from Kennard to Page dated 11 May 1863 reports on the depth soundings near Thunderbolt and the existence of a narrow unobstructed passage at high water.

Finally, a letter from Commander William A. Webb (1824-1881) announces his appointment as Page's replacement in command of Savannah's naval defenses, 13 May 1863.