• Roger Pryor, Imprisoned As A Confederate Spy, Approves Post-Civil War Appointment


    ROGER ATKINSON PRYOR (July 19, 1828 – March 14, 1919) was a firebrand secessionist member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1859-61.  He urged the attack be made on Fort Sumter but declined to fire the first shot.  

    He entered the Confederate State Army as Colonel of the 3rd Virginia Infantry. Distinguished for gallantry at the Battle of Williamsburg, he won promotion to Brig. General. He fought through the 7-Days, 2nd Bull Run and the Antietam Campaign, commanding the 5th and 8th Florida, 3rd Virginia and 14th Alabama. In 1864, while on a solitary intelligence mission, he was captured and held prisoner in Ft. Lafayette.

    Post-war, an impoverished Pryor moved his family to New York City, where he established a profitable law firm. He served as judge of the New York Court of Common Pleas from 1890 to 1894 and justice of the New York Supreme Court from 1894 to 1899.  Pryor was appointed official referee by the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court on April 10, 1912, and served until his death.

    One page, 5” x 5 ½”, ALS, to the Governor of New York, no place or date but probably written during his service on the New York Supreme Court.

    In part, “My dear Governor:

    “Informed that Robert Coleman Taylor, Esq. requests the appointment of judge of General Sessions, I respectfully beg the privilege of urging his application.

    “As your excellency is undoubtedly aware, he has argued all his criminal cases in the Court of Appeals with eminent success.

    “I venture to assure your Excellency that he is in every respect…qualified for the office he seeks.

    “Very Respectfully your

    “Obedient Servant

    “Roger A. Pryor”

    Letter is in excellent condition.

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