Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Mosby, John S. (1833-1916) to Sam Chapman

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03921.30 Author/Creator: Mosby, John S. (1833-1916) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 15 February 1910 Pagination: 3 p.

Defense of Stuart's absence at Gettysburg, prompted by a newspaper article; treason case against Jefferson Davis.


Return enclosures-

Feby: 15th 1910
Dear Sam.
I suppose you have read McKim's address - It is in better literary form tha[struck: t] [inserted: n] Talcott's letter but no better in substance. My answer to Talcott is an answer to McKim. It is not my present intention to publish any answer to him - as I have really already done that - but at my leisure shall write an answer wh. I shall present. You will observe (1) that he takes no notice of the fact that Gen. Lee kept two brigades of cavalry with him; (2) that he never ordered the Army to Gettysburg. He assumes that if Stuart had been with the army Hill wd. not have gone off to Gettysburg. This is a high compliment to Stuart. You or I wd. be glad if somebody wd. say that of us. That wd. not be imparting any blame to us if we were off doing our duty somewhere Else. Then if Lee never ordered his army to Gettysburg why should Stuart be blamed for not being there - any more than you. But see how I have made them back down - [struck: At] The [strikeout] old charge against Stuart was his obedience of orders - now they say it was only an "error of judgment". You see how Talcott squirms because I said he wasn't mentioned in the reports of the campaign - He ought [inserted: not] to [struck: pu] have put himself up as a target if he didn't want to be shot at. [struck: Talcott] McKim says he once rode 50 [inserted: miles] in one day on the campaign. Ask [struck: him] Hugh if that isn't an Ecclesiastical lie. [2] there was of course a great prejudice against him - Doug Tyler's wedding (near Upperville) came off the night of that day. I thought my Example might do some good - stayed there [struck: &] introduced Walker & made a speech - I said that I wd. as soon have ridden to the rear when I ordered my men to charge as to leave Warrenton that day [inserted: in such a crisis] when the people of Virginia were standing on such a brink - My speech was published in many papers - But the so called "True Virginians" - Genl. Hunton - Gen. Payne - Col. John Smith - Judge (then Jimmie Keith) - Aleck Payne - all drove off to the wedding before Walker arrived - I was invited [inserted: to the wedding] but wouldn't go - But all of these men afterward got offices & enjoyed the fruits of a victory wh. they refused to help win. You were then teaching in Warrenton. John Baldwin was Examined before the Reconstruction Committee - He was asked if Jeff Davis could be tried before a Jury in the South & convicted of Treason. He replied - Yes - that Mr. Davis (& himself) had been guilty of treason & if they were tried for it he saw no reason why they shouldn't be convicted. Tell Hugh (for me) that the difference between me & him is that I committed Treason & am proud of it - he committed [3] Treason & is ashamed of it. Baldwin's testimony was in 1867. Dick Smith in [struck: the] an Editorial [inserted: in the Enquirer] was very severe on him [struck: on him]: Baldwin replied in a letter. If Sam Yost has files of his paper no doubt you can find it. I am glad to hear that Hugh still has his head on. Ask him who got the price that was set on it. I am glad to hear that Hugh still has his head on. Ask him who got the price that was set on it. As I have often said I don't go to Reunions because I can't stand the Speaking: E.g. Bob Lee's speech at Roanoke about slavery - why not talk about witchcraft, if, as he said, Slavery was not the cause of the war. The articles in the Sunday Mag. are a mere synopsis of what I wrote - My kind regards to the "headless horseman" & to Sam Yost.
Charles O. Connor Yours Truly
argued Mr. Davis' case - Jno: S. Mosby
He never mentioned
State rights - or the right
of secession. He contended
that the 14th Amendment punished Davis by disfranchisement
& was a substitute for the old penalty - Chase agreed & Underwood disagreed with him. Just then the Proclamation of Pardon was issued & Chase ordered the indictment (or case) dismissed because Davis had been pardoned & that the pardon put an End to the Trial.

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources