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Wright, Family Augustus R. & Miller Wright archive: Confederate turncoat [partially decimalized .01-.12]

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02691 Author/Creator: Wright, Family Place Written: [various places] Type: Header Record Date: 1858-1900 Pagination: 121 items

This collection comprises personal and military correspondence relating to U.S., and later Confederate, congressman Augustus Wright and his son Miller, both Southerners with Unionist sympathies. Topics include battles (including First Manassas), conflicts between Jefferson Davis and Governor Joseph Brown, wounded soldiers and prisoners of war, conscription, peace negotiations, Confederate surrender, and Lincoln's assassination. The collection includes a number of orders by Robert E. Lee's son George Washington Custis Lee, Miller's commanding officer for much of the war.

Augustus Romaldus Wright was a Georgia lawyer who had served a single term in the U. S. House of Representatives (1857-59) as a Democrat. Wright opposed secession as a delegate to the Georgia Secession Conference and was offered the provisional governorship of Georgia by President Lincoln, but declined the office. Wright served as a member of the Confederate Congress, was present at the drafting of the Constitution of the Confederate States of America, and organized Wright's Legion, which was mustered in with the 38th Georgia Infantry. Wright resigned his commission on February 14, 1862; he then became Chairman of the Committee on Medical Department when it was created on September 8, 1862, and also headed the Special Committee on Hospitals. In September of 1864, he served as an intermediary between General Sherman and Georgia governor Joseph Brown, and in November, he met with Lincoln in Washington to discuss reconstruction. (See note on 24 November 1864 letter from Augustus R. Wright to Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.) That same year, he contracted with the U.S. government for cotton sales. After the war, Wright resumed the practice of law at Rome, Georgia. A collection of his papers is now housed at the library of the University of Georgia.

Miller A. Wright enlisted in the Confederate Army as a private, and attained the rank of colonel by the end of the war. On April 18, 1862, Miller was relieved of duty as a result of serious sickness. On September 17, 1862, he was wounded in the foot at Sharpsburg, Maryland. Wright was officially commissioned as a colonel and an aide-de-camp of the governor of Georgia on May 11, 1864. On August 1, 1864 he was taken captive by Union authorities. On November 4th of that year, he was granted a full pardon by Lincoln (GLC02691.03).

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