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Edward Carrington Cabell

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Handwritten letter by the man who later tried in vain to secure Missouri for the Confederacy

Edward Carrington Cabell, 1816-1896.  Confederate colonel; aide-de-camp to Confederate Major General Sterling Price; United States Representative from Florida; Missouri state senator.  Autographed Letter Signed, E. C. Cabell, one page, 7½" x 9¾", Washington, January 5, 1851.

Cabell, then a member of Congress, updates a constituent on the progress of legislation.  In part:  “Before the adjournment of last session I made a report, by order of the Committee on Naval Affairs, on the case in wh[ich] your friend, Mr. Whitehead, is interested.  The recommendation of the Committee was in accordance with the wishes of Mr. Simonton, the associate of Mr. W. / I do not think however that there is much possibility that the case will be reached at this session, so little progress being made in reducing the number of cases on the private calendar."

Cabell was an important  figure in Confederate history.  Although lesser known than his cousin, Brigadier General William L. Cabell, he was central to the failed efforts to secure Missouri for the Confederacy. Had President Jefferson Davis listened, the war along the Mississippi River might have been different.  Missouri Governor Claiborne Jackson tried in vain to convince Davis to send troops to Missouri, arguing that the southern states along the Mississippi would be safer if Union forces had to worry about Confederate troops coming from Missouri to attack them from behind. Cabell was Jackson's personal emissary to Davis and corresponded with Davis several times, personally urging Davis to send Confederate troops to Missouri.  Davis essentially turned a deaf ear to both Jackson and Cabell.  Historians view Davis' failure to secure Missouri as a strategic blunder.

The correspondence between Cabell and Davis, as well as correspondence by others about Cabell, is detailed in Volume 7 of The Papers of Jefferson Davis, published by Rice University.

Cabell was born in Richmond, Virginia, but moved to Florida after studying both civil engineering and law.  Upon Florida's admission to the union, he served three months in Congress before being unseated in an election contest.  He later served three terms in Congress as a Whig, 1847-1853, but lost in his bid for a fourth term.  He moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1859, where he joined the Confederate army after the start of the Civil War.  A colonel, he served on the staffs of Generals Sterling Price and Edmund Kirby Smith. After the war, Cabell returned to practicing law and served one term in the Missouri Senate.

The letter has normal mailing folds.  There are a paper clip impression and stain at the top and minor paper loss in the left margin.  Overall the letter is in fine condition.


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