December 06, 2012 07:00 PM EST Cincinnati


Confederate General Wheeler's General Orders, February 1864

1p, 5 x 8 in. (13 x 20 cm), Head Qu’rs Wheeler’s Cavalry Corps, February 10th, 1864. General Orders No. 2. Typeset signature: By Order of Maj. Gen. Jos. Wheeler. E.S. Burford, A.A. Gen’l. The order concerns training, for example: The Captains and Lieutenants of each Regiment will be organized into a School, and will recite daily to the Regimental commander, or some other field officer. These officers will also be formed daily and thoroughly drilled by the Instructor in the School of the Trooper, Platoon, Squadron, and in the use of the saber.…The non-commissioned officers of each company, together with two or more of the most intelligent privates…will be drilled by the Instructor in the school of the Trooper, Platoon, and in the use of the saber…. Division and Brigade commanders will superintend these schools, and will use every exertion to facilitate and urge forward work so necessary to the proper discipline and efficiency of this arm of the service.

A rare Confederate imprint, Parrish & Willingham [994] found 3 copies in 1988 most as part of General Orders 1-6 issued between 31 Jan. – 18 June 1864. One was located at Harry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA (1-6); one at the National Archives in Washington (1-6); and one at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, VA (2-5). World Cat. Only lists one at the Simpson University Library, Redding, CA. There is a digital copy at the Internet, that is stamped as being from Duke University.
Joseph “Fightin’ Joe” Wheeler was born in Georgia in 1836, and even though he lived most of his life with relatives in Connecticut, he always considered himself a Southerner. He was appointed to the USMA, and graduated in 1859, 19th of 22. He received his 2nd lieutenancy in Sept. 1860, and on April 26, 1861, resigned to join the Confederate forces, having already been offered a commission in the Confederate Army. He became colonel in September 1861, Brigadier General in Oct. 1862, Major General in Jan. 1863, and Lieut. General in Feb. 1865. He was given command of the cavalry of the Army of the Mississippi in July 1862, and spent most of the war fighting in the Western theater. Wheeler was one of the only generals opposing Sherman on his March to the Sea. He has been criticized in possibly inadvertently weakened Gen. John Bell Hood’s ability to defend Atlanta, and did not win any friends among Georgia civilians as he harassed Sherman’s army on its long trek across the state. (It is ironic that this order concerns military discipline, when, apparently, the men under his command had little other discipline when fighting through Georgia. One of the primary civilian complaints was lack of discipline of his men.) He tried to cover President Davis’ flight from Richmond and to reach the Western forces, still fighting after Lee’s surrender, but was captured along with several officers. He was imprisoned for two months before being paroled in June.
After the war, Wheeler became a cotton planter, lawyer and representative for the state of Alabama from 1880 – 1882, 1884 – 1900. He volunteered for the Spanish-American war, the only former Confederate General to do so. He was appointed Major General of Volunteers by William McKinley, a former Captain in the 23rd Ohio Infantry, and for many symbolic of the reunification of the nation. He also received the permanent rank of Brig. General of the regular (U.S.) army, retiring by age in 1900.

Condition:Scattered discoloration.  Minor chipping at upper right.

Estimate: $500 - $700


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