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King, Rufus (1814-1876) to Edwin M. Stanton

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05039 Author/Creator: King, Rufus (1814-1876) Place Written: Fredericksburg, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: June 26, 1862 Pagination: 2 p. ; 20.1 x 12.6 cm. + 1 engraving ; b&w ; 29 x 19.9 cm

Summary of Content: Writes from "Opposite Fredericksburg." Written by Brigadier General King as commander of a division under General Irving McDowell to Secretary of War Stanton. Says "A contraband has just arrived here, who left Louisa Court House, 35 miles, from this point, at Sundown, Today." The contraband reported that [General Robert S.] Ewell's and [General Stonewall] Jackson's Confederate troops, numbering 40-50,000, passed Louisa Court House on their way to Richmond, Virginia last Friday through Monday. They were leaving the mountains, except for some calvary troops, and looked worn out. Says "His own master was among them and got home Sunday night." The contraband said he left because "now that the Southern troops had fallen back, the people expected the Yankees to follow and were hurrying off all The young and able-bodied Negroes further South." Some doodles in pencil on verso; one is of a building. On headquarters letterhead, with a jagged right side. Includes a paper frame that was probably used as matting. 1 bust engraving of King included.

Background Information: General King was the grandson of Constitution signer and Federalist U.S. Senator Rufus King of New York. In August 1862, King would become disgraced for his actions at the battle ...of Second Bull Run. He was accused of drunkenness, while he more than likely suffered from an epileptic seizure. He would go on to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Papal States and was involved in the capture of one of the conspirators in the Lincoln assassination and attack on Secretary of State William H. Seward.
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Full Transcript: Opposite Fredericksburg, June 26 1862.
11.30 AM.
Hon: E. M Stanton
Secretary of War
A contraband has just arrived here, who left Louisa Court House, 35 miles, or more, from this point, at sundown, ...Tuesday. He reports that Ewell's and Jackson's troops, forty, or fifty thousand, passed this Louisa Court House, on their way to Richmond, Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday. The soldiers said they were all leaving the mountains, except a few Cavalry, and going to Richmond. The contraband saw the troops passing, during four Days, and describes them as worn out and [struck:dis] & looking hard. His own master was among them and got home Sunday night.
The contraband's reason for leaving [2] was, that now that the Southern troops had fallen back, the people expected the Yankees to follow and were hurrying off all the young and able bodied negroes further South.
Rufus King
B.G.

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People: King, Rufus, 1817-1891
Stanton, Edwin McMasters, 1814-1869
Ewell, Richard Stoddert, 1817-1872
Jackson, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall," 1824-1863
Jackson, Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall," 1824-1863

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Civil WarMilitary HistoryUnion GeneralUnion ForcesConfederate General or LeaderConfederate States of AmericaAfrican American HistoryContrabandsSlaveryRefugees

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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