10 November 1861: “The President is much interested in your system of signals and attaches high value to it…”

Item description: Letter from Judah P. Benjamin, Acting Secretary of State, Confederate States of America, to Edward Porter Benjamin, Captain of Engineers in the Confederate Army, 10 November 1861, asking for suggestions of officers for the proposed Signal Corps, including for points at Charleston, Pensacola, and Columbus Ky.

Item citation: From folder 9 of the Edward Porter Alexander Papers, #7, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Confederate States of America,

War Department,

Richmond, 10 November 1861.


The extreme pressure of official duties has hitherto prevented my replying to two letters of 7th and 11th Oct. addressed by you to the President__

The President is much interested in your system of signals and attaches high value to it, and is disposed to adopt your suggestions in relation to the detail of officers instructed by you for duty at the points__

I have therefore to request in his name that you will be good enough to send me a list of such persons as you would recommend for that purpose with a statement of the rank deemed proper and suitable for each person, in order that it may be submitted to the President__ The points where we suppose the system would now be specially valuable are at Charleston, Pensacola, and Columbus Ky, and officers sufficient for those three points would be very desirable__

Will you be good enough also to say what in your opinion and that of Genl Beauregard would be a fair appointment to be conferred on Mr Bryan __ would a commission of 2d Lieut be sufficient or are his merits of a higher grade?

The other person of whom you speak, Mrs. Morris, might receive pecuniary compensation if you deem it proper, and secret service money will be sent you for  that purpose if you so desire __

If Major Alexander is employed in the signal service, will he desire a Commission in the Regular Army? If so, it must of necessity be much lower in rank than that which he now holds temporarily in the provisional army__

Please write to me fully and frankly your desire as to your brothers as well as the privates to whom you propose that commissions be granted__

I am

Yr obt srv

J. P. Benjamin

Acting Sec of War

Capt. E. P. Alexander


War Dept

Nov 10th 61

Letter from Benjamin


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