CSA Lieutenant General William Hardee, Confidential 1862 ALS to Lieutenant General Joseph Wheeler

Hardee, William J. (1815-1873). ALS as Major General, 3pp, 4.625 x 7.625 in., Bardstown, KY. October 3, 1862. "Confidential" correspondence addressed to Joseph Wheeler (1836-1900), who was a colonel at the time. In August, Wheeler had been assigned to Hardee's command in the Army of Mississippi and was given three cavalry regiments to oversee. He quickly distinguished himself by leading a series of tactical raids into Tennessee and Kentucky. In the letter, Hardee advises Wheeler of his plans to move back toward Harrodsburg, KY in order to escape the pursuit of Union General Don Carlos Buell (1818-1898). 

To begin, Hardee tells Wheeler of the need to leave Bardstown and instructs him to do so within two days: "It was determined today to retire from this place towards Harrodsburgh [sic] & Danville. The movement will commence tomorrow morning but neither wing will go more than eleven miles tomorrow. You must follow the movement, but unless the movement of the enemy should make it necessary, hold your position until the morning of the 5th." He shares intelligence that Union troops are rapidly closing in and that "it is also quite certain that [the enemy] occupies Taylorsville & Shelbeeville [sic] and is in force at or near Mount Washington on the Louisville & Bardstown Pike." Hardee explains his own route to Harrodsburg, a distance of "40 miles," and intends to obtain "200 cavalry" to accompany his wing. He orders Wheeler to send 100 men from his unit who "must be here by 10 o’clock tomorrow" in order to serve as rear guardsmen. 

Five days later, Wheeler would rejoin Hardee and command a cavalry brigade at the Battle of Perryville, a bloody but strategically inconclusive engagement.


Creasing as expected with wear to edges and surface soil, at times heavy. Smudging to ink in areas, with brown staining primarily concentrated at edges. Additional signed instructions from Hardee on verso, which have been crossed out in period ink.

Estimate: $700 - $1,000
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