EDMUND WINSTON PETTUS (July 6, 1821-Jult 27, 1907)
was an American lawyer, a Confederate general during the Civil War, during which
he was captured three times. After the war, he became a Grand Dragon of the
Alabama Ku Klux Klan and a Democratic U.S. Senator.
Ironically, the Edmund Pettus Bridge across the Alabama River in Selma, was named in his honor and became a landmark of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
Pettus was a champion of the Confederate cause and of slavery. He was also a Democratic Party delegate to the secession convention in Mississippi, where his brother John was serving as governor. Pettus helped organize the 20th Alabama Infantry and on September 9, 1861, was named the regiment’s major. On October 8, he became its lieutenant colonel.
Pettus served in the Western Theater of the Civil War. He was captured during the Stones River Campaign on December 29, 1862, and exchanged a short time later. He was captured again on May 1, 1863, at Port Gibson, Mississippi but managed to escape. He was promoted to colonel on May 28 and given command of the 20th Alabama. During the 1863 Vicksburg Campaign, while Pettus and his men were defending the Mississippi River. When the garrison surrendered on July 4, he was again taken prisoner but exchanged on September 12. Six days later, he was promoted to Brigadier General.
He and his command took part in the Atlanta Campaign, fighting in the battles of Kennesaw Mountain, Atlanta and Jonesborough. He also participated in the Battle of Bentonville and was wounded, which may have been self-inflicted. After the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox, Pettus was pardoned.
One-page, 8 ½” x 11, ALS on Senate stationery, Washington, DC, January 26, 1906, addressed to Hugh Mallory, Chairman of the Democratic State Election Committee at Selma.
“I am a candidate for nomination by the Democratic Party of Alabama, for re-election to the office of United States Senator from Alabama, which I now hold.
“Edward W. Pettus”
Folds, very light bleed-through on verso, but in excellent condition.
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