Description: This 1861 autograph letter signed to Colonel William H. Christian of the 26th Regiment of New York Volunteers was written by Preston King (1806-1865) when he was serving as a U.S. Senator from New York (1857-1863). King writes: “I send to the Post Office here for you Delafield’s Report and Mordecai’s Report – Crimean War. One vol of each”. Richard Delafield (1798-1873) was a U.S. Army officer who, along with Major Alfred Mordecai, was sent as a military observer during the Crimean War. After his return, Delafield composed a report which was later published as a book by Congress called Report on the Art of War in Europe in 1854, 1855, and 1856. The book was suppressed during the American Civil War because it was thought the drawings and descriptions of military fortifications could be instructive to the Confederacy.
Preston King also served as a member of the House of Representatives (1843-1847).
The 26th Regiment of New York Volunteers was mustered for two years (1861-1863) and saw action with General Pope’s campaign in Virginia, and fought in Antietam and Fredericksburg. The men who were enlisted for three years were transferred to the 97th New York Volunteer Infantry. This letter was sent in August of 1861, when the 26th was stationed in Alexandria, VA.
Coincidentally, both King and Christian met untimely deaths. King, after being appointed Collector of the Port of New York in an effort to curb corruption, felt he would not be successful, and in despair, committed suicide by tying a bag of bullets around his neck and jumping into the New York Harbor. It is rumored that after Antietam, Colonel Christian was forced to resign because of cowardice and spent his last two years in a Lunatic Asylum, though his obituary states he suffered from the effects of sunstroke that he received while serving in the army.
Includes original transmittal envelope free-franked by Preston King. 8 5/8” x 7” Item #A01063.
Condition: Fold lines, otherwise very good condition with a large, bold signature.