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John A. Campbell

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John Archibald Campbell, 1811–1889.  Associate Justice, United States Supreme Court, 1853–1861; Assistant Secretary of War, Confederate States of America, 1862–1865.  Rare Civil War-date Autograph Endorsement Signed, J A Campbell, March 2, 1863. 

Campbell, as the Confederate Assistant Secretary of War, directs the Adjutant General to make an appointment.  In full:  “A G / appoint / by order of Secy of War / J A Campbell / ASW / 2 March (63)." 

Campbell, a Georgia native who practiced law in Alabama and twice declined appointments to the Alabama Supreme Court, rose to national prominence with his appointment to the United States Supreme Court in 1853.  He served as an Associate Justice for only eight years.  After the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln, Campbell, who opposed Southern secession, acted as an intermediary between Secretary of State William H. Seward and a delegation of Southern commissioners with the hope of forging a compromise.  Despite Seward's suggestion that the Lincoln Administration hoped to avoid conflict, Lincoln, under Northern pressure to keep his pledge to hold federal property, openly notified that governor of South Carolina that he would reprovision Fort Sumter.  Campbell concluded that Seward had misled him, and, faced with the outbreak of war, he resigned from the Supreme Court on April 29, 1861.  In 1862, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Assistant Secretary of War, a position that he held throughout the remainder of the Civil War.

Campbell's autograph material is rare.  This piece is additionally desirable because of its Civil War date.

Campbell has written the endorsement on a letter, from which this has been clipped.  The writing and signature are bold, and the piece is in very fine condition. 




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