an assemblage of three autographs of South Carolina Confederate officers
involved in many battles, including Seven Days’, Sharpsburg, James River and Chickamauga,
Siege of Charleston, among many others.
WILMOT GIBBS DE SAUSSURE (July 23, 1822-February 1, 1886) was a general in the South Carolina militia. His family traced its roots back to the Lords of Dammartin in France in 1440 and to the Huguenot immigration to South Carolina. De Saussure had an antebellum career as a prominent Charleston lawyer. He was also Secretary of the Treasury and five-time representative to the state assembly.
De Saussure was a lieutenant colonel of the 1st Regiment of Artillery of the 4th Charleston Brigade. After the tiny U.S. army garrison evacuated Fort Moultrie and withdrew to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, De Saussure’s regiment occupied the abandoned fort. He commanded the batteries on Morris Island during the April 12 and 14, 1861, bombardment of Fort Sumter. He was appointed brigadier general of militia in August 1861. He was appointed as Treasury Secretary of South Carolina by Gov. Francis Pickens. De Saussure deposited state money into Richmond banks to aid South Carolina soldiers stationed at Virginia. On April 11, 1862, he was elected state adjutant general and inspector general of militia. During the 1863 siege of Charleston, De Saussure commanded the fifth subdivision, leading a combination of militia and Confederate forces.
De Saussure’s autograph is on the inside disbound book binding. Foxing and toning.
WILLIAM J. CATHCART (1845-1923) enlisted as a private in Co. F, Third South Carolina battalion at age 16. He served in Kershaw’s brigade and division until he surrendered with the remnant of his command at Appomattox, participating on the battlefields of Northern Virginia. He fought in the Seven Days Campaign on the Chickahominy and Sharpsburg. At the close of the war, he held the position of second sergeant of his company. After the war, he served as city clerk and treasurer of Columbia and sheriff of Richland County.
Cathcart’s autograph is contained on the same sheet with Des Portes’ on Cathcart’s city clerk and treasurer’s stationary. The sheet contains a short ALS by Cathcart stating that “Capt. Des Portes requests me to say to you that this is a copy of letter wrote to Mr. Miles and directed to Phil on yesterday and if he is in Charleston to show him this letter or send to him if he has not gone to Phila. W.J. Cathcart, City Clerk & Treasurer. The top of the sheet contains a partial note signed by Des Portes.
CAPTAIN RICHARD SMALLWOOD DES PORTES was born in Charleston, SC, on September 21, 1841, and died at Columbia, January 23, 1898. He was a grandson of a hero of Napoleon’s Old Guard who lost his life in the sunken road at Waterloo. Des Portes was educated at Mount Zion College and was studying medicine when South Carolina seceded. He went out with the Aiken Guards, Co. G, of the Third South Carolina battalion as second lieutenant. He resigned on account of illness but upon his recovery he was given a position on the staff of Gen. S.G. French as ordnance officer with the rank of first lieutenant of artillery. In June 1863, he was transferred to the staff of Gen. D.H. Hill, with whom he served on James River and at the Battle of Chickamauga. During the Atlanta Campaign, he was recommended for promotion to captain of artillery. He took a gallant part in the battles of Dalton, Resaca, Peach Tree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church, Jonesboro, Columbia, Spring Hill, Franklin, Murfreesboro and Nashville. After hearing of the surrender of Appomattox, he proposed to Gen. S.D. Lee to accompany him to the Trans-Mississippi to keep up the fight, but events proved irreversible. After the war, he went into the mercantile business. He was also prominent in banking affairs.
Foxing and toning to the Saussure. Toning and fold to the sheet containing Cathcart and Des Portes’ autographs.
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