• Meritorious Col. Torbert Signs Military Pass Permitting Servants To Buy Provisions -- Civil War

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    ALFRED THOMAS ARCHIMEDES TORBERT (July 1, 1833 – August 29, 1880) was a Union Army General, commanding both infantry and cavalry forces in the Civil War, and a diplomat.  

    Torbert was appointed a first lieutenant in the Confederate States Army on March 16, 1861, but he refused the appointment and remained a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. By September 16, he was appointed Colonel of the 1st New Jersey Infantry and by August 29, 1862, he was a brigade commander in the VI Corps of the Army of the Potomac.  During the Maryland Campaign in 1862, he was wounded at Crampton’s Gap in the Battle of South Mountain. He commanded his New Jersey brigade in the campaign leading to the battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.

    During Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan’s Valley Campaigns of 1864, Torbert was Chief of the Cavalry for the Army of the Shenandoah and led the cavalry at important battles such as Third Winchester and Cedar Creek.  Torbert received brevet promotions for his service at Gettysburg, Haw’s Shop, Third Winchester and Cedar Creek.

    After the war, Torbert served in a number of diplomatic posts – U.S. Consul to El Salvador in 1869, U.S. Consul General In Havana in 1871 and U.S. Consul General in Paris in 1873.

    On August 29, 1880, while en route to Mexico aboard the steamship Vera Cruz, Torbert was washed off the deck during a violent hurricane.  Accounts of his death indicate he made it to shore alive, over 20 hours after the ship sank, but drowned in the surf shortly thereafter. His body was recovered August 31, 1880 and buried in Daytona the next day.

    One-page, 5 x 5 ¼, military pass, “Headquarters 23d Reg, N.J.V. 1st Brigade, October (?), 3d, 1863. Guards, Your will pass the bearers my servants for the purpose of buying provisions. Major A. Thompson 23rd Rgt N.J.V. Appro(ved) By Orders AJA Torbert, Col Commanding”


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