University Archives

Lot 160

Previous image preload Next image preload


Stonewall Jackson Letter Requesting Lee's Intervention During the Shenandoah Valley Campaign

A contemporary fair copy of a letter drafted by Confederate Major General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (1824-1863), perhaps the working draft of a telegraph which Jackson sent Robert E. Lee on the same day asking for clarification on a military objective. The letter written "Near New Market V[irginia]" on May 20, 1862 is signed (not by Jackson) as "T.J. Jackson / Maj Genl" at bottom. Written on a piece of pale blue blue-ruled paper. Isolated minor ink bleed-through and a small area of damage at lower left corresponding to previous mounting. Unevenly torn at bottom. Else near fine. 7.75" x 4.625." Ex-Kenneth Rendell. If a real autograph letter signed by Stonewall Jackson, this would easily be worth $50,000.

Jackson's Valley Campaign, also called the Shenandoah Valley Campaign, was a series of minor battles fought in northern Virginia between March and June 1862. During the Campaign, Jackson's force of 17,000 Confederates faced off against three separate Union armies totaling over 50,000 soldiers. Except for the Battle of Kernstown on March 23, 1862--which indeed was the only defeat in Jackson's military career--the Campaign was a major Confederate success.

In March 1862, Jackson's Stonewall Brigade had been incorporated into the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, then commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston (1807-1891). In May 1862, General Johnston had ordered a Confederate retreat from the Shenandoah Valley, as troops were needed in Richmond in advance of an anticipated Union attack. Jackson thought that he should stay in northern Virginia and continue to harass corps commander Nathaniel P. Banks (1816-1894), then attached to the Union Army of the Potomac.

Jackson urgently telegraphed Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), then serving as military adviser to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, to reverse Johnston's order. This letter draft is possibly the only example of this communication which exists--was it used by the telegraph operator to transmit Jackson's message? Lee convinced Davis to countermand Johnston's orders, and Jackson was able to launch a Confederate attack at the Battle of Front Royal three days later, on May 23, 1862.

In full:

"Near New Market
May 20th 1862

Genl R.E. Lee

I am of the opinion that an attempt should be made to defeat Banks. But under instructions just received from Genl Johnson I do not feel at liberty to make an attack. Please answer by telegraph at once.

T.J. Jackson
Maj Genl."

General Joseph E. Johnston had frequently clashed with President Davis over military matters. After Johnston was wounded at the Battle of Seven Pines less than two weeks later, in late May 1862, Robert E. Lee took over his command.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


Accepts online payments

Accepted Forms of Payment

American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Money Order / Cashiers Check, Paypal, Personal Check, Visa, Wire Transfer


We do our own in-house worldwide shipping!

Applicable shipping and handling charges will be added to the invoice. We offer several shipping options, and remain one of the few auction houses who proudly provides professional in-house shipping as an option to our clients. All items will ship with signature required, and full insurance. Most items are sent via Federal Express, with P. O. Box addresses being sent through USPS. We insure through Berkley Asset Protection with rates of $.70 per $100 of value, among the lowest insurance rates in the industry. Our shipping department cameras document every package, both outgoing and incoming, for maximum security. In addition, we compare our shipping and handling rates against those of other auction houses, to ensure that our charges are among the lowest in the trade.

Upon winning your item(s), you will receive an invoice with our in-house shipping and handling fees included. ***We will ship to the address as it appears on your invoice, unless you inform us otherwise, immediately upon your receipt of invoice***

International shipments: In order to comply with our insurance provider, all international shipments will be sent via Fed Ex and customs paperwork will show a value of $1.00. International buyers should contact our office directly with any questions regarding this policy.

Third Party Shipping Option: If a third party shipper is preferred, the buyer is responsible for contacting them directly to make shipping arrangements. For your convenience, we have provided some recommended shippers. For your protection, we will require a signed release from you, confirming your authorization for us to release your lots to your specified third party Please copy and paste this following link into your browser: http://universityarchives.com/UserFiles/ShippingInfo.pdf. At that point, our responsibility and insurance coverage for your item(s) ceases. Items picked up by third party shippers are required to pay Connecticut sales tax. Items requiring third party shipping due to being oversized, fragile or bulky will be denoted in the item description.

Please see our full terms and conditions for names of suggested third party shippers.

After payment has been made in full, University Archives will ship your purchase within 5 business days following receipt of full payment for item.

Please remember that the buyer is responsible for all shipping costs from University Archives' offices in Wilton, CT to the buyer's door. Please see full Terms and Conditions of Sale.

March 3, 2021 10:30 AM EST

Wilton, CT, US

You agree to pay a buyer's premium of up to 25.0% and any applicable taxes and shipping.

View full terms and conditions

Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000