Apr 13, 2023 - Sale 2633

Sale 2633 - Lot 57

Price Realized: $ 875
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(CIVIL WAR--MARYLAND.) J. Leeds Barroll. Letter by a Confederate-leaning newspaperman being exiled to Virginia, with other letters. 3 pages, 10 x 7 1/2 inches, on one folding sheet, to wife Eleonora; moderate foxing and wear including slight loss of text on bottom edge. Harpers Ferry, WV, 20 April 1863

Additional Details

John Leeds Barroll (1830-1866) was a newspaper editor in Chestertown, MD, on the Eastern Shore. He was arrested by Union military authorities on 17 April 1863 for publishing material which was deemed treasonous. He was briefly held in Harpers Ferry, awaiting transportation to Confederate territory "never again to return, under the penalty of being treated as spies." This poignant letter was written on the eve of his deportation as a farewell to his wife Eleonora Horsey Barroll (1835-1905):

"You have doubtless seen, my darling wife, that I am sent beyond the lines, or rather to be sent tomorrow. Could I have succeeded in gaining a hearing, I think no such order would have been given, but I neither saw Gen. Schenck or Col. Fish. Words are inadequate, my own one, to give utterance to the deep anguish of my mind at this cruel severance of ties the most sacred, and the sad prospect of not meeting you for alas how long." Barroll survived to return to Chestertown, but died in 1866.

Barroll hopes his father "may possibly succeed in gaining through his friends in Baltimore a revocation of my sentence. . . . Mr. Downs my companion in trouble & myself will strike immediately for Richmond, where his father-in-law resides. . . . We shall not enter the army, as that would preclude all possibility of our being permitted to return, but he thinks we can gain employment in the offices of the Richmond papers . . . as I am a fair compositor, and printers command very high wages in Richmond. . . . Teach the children to love & talk of me, and pray for me night & morning. . . . Do not attempt to write to me (unless Pa can succeed in gaining permission for us to do so on some terms), for it would only result in disaster to you." He concludes with short affectionate notes to his young son and daughter.

With--21 other letters to Eleonora and other Horsey and Barroll relatives, 1850-1904, mostly from the 1850s. A letter from Thomas Horsey to Eleonora describes a visit to Coney Island and a balloon ascension in Jones's Wood, Manhattan: "We all went over to Jones-Wood yesterday to see a balloon ascend with a man in it, but it happened that they could not get enough gas to take itself and the man, so they had to cut it loose and let it go. It was over 65 feet high" (Yorkville, NY, 12 July 1859).