Report of Attacks on Forts Walker and Beauregard
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Benjamin sends his official reports on the attacks on Forts Walker and Beauregard to Jefferson Davis, to be communicated to the Confederate Congress. JUDAH P. BENJAMIN.
Autograph Letter Signed as Confederate Secretary of War, to President Jefferson Davis, with Davis’s endorsement. Richmond, Va., December 30, 1861. 1 p., plus docket, 7⅝ x 8⅞ in.
“30 Dec 1861
I have the honor to submit herewith copies of the official reports of the Bombardment of Forts Walker and Beauregard at the entrance of Port Royal Sound; and of the battle of Drainsville of the 20th inst. for communication to the Congress.
I am very resy / Yr obt st
J.P. Benjamin/ Sec of War
To The President”
Docketed by Davis at top,“File- J.D.” With docketing by Davis’ assistant on the verso.
Union Admiral Samuel F. Du Pont had just led a fleet of 17 cruisers and some 12,000 men from Hampton Roads, Virginia to Port Royal Sound. On 7 November he seized Fort Walker and Fort Beauregard, which the Union then used as a base of operations in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
Judah Benjamin (1811-1834) was valued by Davis more than any other cabinet member. A New Orleans lawyer and Senator given the post of Attorney-general, until Davis decided he needed him in a more important role. In September 1861 he was moved to the War Department. His closeness to Davis, and his Jewish faith, attracted resentment from jealous rivals. With the loss of Roanoke Island in 1862, after Grant’s capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, critics demanded Benjamin’s blood. Davis then promoted him to Secretary of State, a post he held until the collapse of the Confederacy. Initially part of Davis’s contingent when he fled Richmond, he escaped to England where he thrived as a lawyer and was named to the Queen’s council. He retired in 1883.
Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) President of the Confederacy. A West Point officer who served with distinction in the Mexican American War, Davis was President Pierce’s Secretary of War. Elected to the U.S. Senate, Davis resigned when Mississippi seceded in 1861. He organized the Confederacy under a strong, centralized rule that frustrated many Southern leaders who had argued for states’ rights. He faced charges of treason and imprisonment at the end of the Civil War, but was not prosecuted, because his trial would have taken place in Virginia where a jury might refuse to convict him. In his later years Davis wrote his memoirs, The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.