Autograph Letter Signed by the Confederate General and Chief Exponent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, Mentioning “The Confederate Survivors Association of Augusta”

Signed by Jubal Early

Item: 20575
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EARLY, JUBAL. (1816-1894). Confederate general and chief exponent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. ALS. (“J.A. Early”). 1½ pp. 8vo. Lynchburg, April 8, 1887. To Savanah mayor, Confederate commander and noted historian and manuscript collector CHARLES C. JONES JR. (1831-1893).

“Your two letters, the first asking for an engraved portrait of myself, and the other enclosing me [sic] an invitation to be present at the reunion of the Confederate Survivors Association of Augusta on the 25th of this month, have been duly received. In reply to the first, I have to inform you that I have no engraved portrait of myself and know of none. I send you a photograph of myself, which is a very good likeness, though I hardly suppose that will answer your purpose. I am very much obliged to you for the invitation to be present at the proposed reunion, but it will be out of my power to avail myself of it…”

A member of a prominent Virginia family, Early graduated from West Point and served in an artillery regiment during the Seminole War, before taking up a legal and political career. He returned to military service during the Mexican-American War, afterward pursuing law and local politics. Representing Franklin County during the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, Early opposed secession on the grounds that it would lead to war. Nonetheless, he joined the Virginia Militia to defend against federal troops. He raised three regiments in Lynchburg and in 1861 promoted to the rank of colonel in the Confederate Army in charge of the 24th Virginia Infantry.

Jubal Early

Becoming a brigadier general shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run, Early earned a reputation as an aggressive leader in most of the major battles of the Eastern Theater including Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. Toward the end of the war, he made daring raids around Washington, disrupting Union supply lines and funding the beleaguered Confederate forces with looted money and supplies. Despite Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson’s admiration and being tolerated for his insubordination and short temper, by 1865 Early had lost the confidence of his commanders and troops.

After the April 9, 1865 Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Early fled to Texas in search of Confederate troops still prepared to fight. Finding none, he moved on to Mexico, Cuba and, finally, Canada where he settled and penned A Memoir of the Last Year of the War for Independence, in the Confederate States of America. Published in 1866, it was the first book about the war written by a major general.

After President Johnson’s 1869 pardon of Confederate officers, Early returned to Virginia and settled in Lynchburg. He considered himself an “unreconstructed rebel,” and wore only clothes of Confederate gray. His narrative of the nobility of the Confederate cause and defense of the “Southern way of life,” promoted through articles he wrote for the Southern Historical Society, helped shape the Lost Cause of the Confederacy ideology. In his later years he became a vocal proponent of white supremacy.

The First Battle of Bull Run

Our letter discusses an invitation from the Augusta, Georgia Confederate Survivors’ Association. “In 1878 Augusta-area veterans formed the Confederate Survivors Association (CSA), under the leadership of Stewart County native Clement Evans. Like many of the other early veteran groups, the CSA sought to encourage friendship among veterans, to protect memories of the past, to promote the practice of ‘manly virtues,’ and to provide for sick and indigent veterans. Despite these broadly defined objectives, the CSA functioned primarily as a memorial society in its early years,” (“Confederate Veteran Organizations,” New Georgia Encyclopedia). The CSA continued to function well into the 20th century.

The recipient of our letter was a member of a prominent family of Savannah planters and the son of well-known minister Charles Colcock Jones. Educated at Harvard and Princeton, the younger Jones worked as an attorney and managed his family’s plantation before serving as mayor of Savannah and defending that city during the Civil War. After the war, he gained prominence as a speaker and historian, frequently delivering lectures to Confederate veterans organizations and publishing nearly 100 books and articles including The Siege of Savannah in December, 1864; The Dead Towns of Georgia; History of Georgia; and Negro Myths on the Georgia Coast. His works are of interest to modern historians for their espousal of the Lost Cause ideology and attempts to reconcile the practice of slavery with Christianity. Jones was also a renowned collector of archaeological specimens and manuscripts, the latter of which included manuscripts by or pertaining to all of the Confederacy’s officers. It is undoubtedly for this collection that he sought out Early’s portrait. Written on a folded sheet of lined paper with a small closed tear and some paper loss to the blank integral sheet. In fine condition.

Autograph Letter Signed by the Confederate General and Chief Exponent of the Lost Cause of the Confederacy, Mentioning “The Confederate Survivors Association of Augusta”

Signed by Jubal Early

$850 • item #20575

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