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Collection Title: Breckinridge (John Cabell) Dispatch

Collection Number: M73

Dates: March 25, 1862

Volume: 1 item

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This dispatch may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

John C. Breckinridge (1821-1875) of Kentucky served as Vice President of the United States, 1857-1851, and as a member of the U.S. Senate, 1861. He unsuccessfully sought the Presidency in 1860. He entered the Confederate Army in 1861 and was appointed brigadier general in November under the command of Albert Sydney Johnston at Bowling Green, Kentucky. He retreated with the Confederate Army out of Kentucky early in 1862, took part in the battle of Shiloh, Tennessee (April 6-7, 1862), and was appointed major general. After service in several campaigns he was appointed Confederate Secretary of War by President Davis in February 1865. At the close of the war he fled the country and remained abroad (lastly in Toronto, Canada) until 1868 when the federal government allowed him to return to Kentucky. He practiced law in Lexington and became a railroad company executive.

Henry P. Brewster was assistant adjutant general on the departmental staff of Albert Sydney Johnston. In the Official Records, his rank in March 1862 is given as that of captain.

Scope and Content:

On the verso of the item it is identified in a contemporary hand as "Copy of Dispatch sent to Col. H.P. Brewster, at 9 o'clock p.m., March 25, 1862." Breckinridge informs Brewster, in Corinth, Mississippi, of the presence of Union calvary west of Yellow Creek, advancing on the old road on the southeast side of Chambers Creek (Alcorn and Tishomingo counties), and warns of a possible attack at the railroad trestle near Glen Dale. He offers to send two or three infantry companies and a detachment of calvary to guard the trestle. This dispatch was apparently written in response to a request for information on Union movements sent by Brewster to Breckinridge dated March 24, 1862, and published in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, Series I, vol. 52, part 2, p. 290.

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