Goodrich's Landing, LA: Original, 1863-64. Original Letters. Very Good. Item #3837
Important collection of six war-date letters written by Union Brigadier General John Parker Hawkins while in command of Colored Troops at Goodrich's Landing, LA. Goodrich's Landing was the name for the cotton plantation owned by Henry Goodrich that was siezed by Union troops early in the war. The site was prepared as a staging area for an eventual attack on Vicksburg. As early as 1862, escaped slaves sought refuge at Goodrich's Landing. Hawkins was promoted to Brigadier General and named to command the District of Northeastern Louisiana, with a division of colored soldiers in 1863. Every single original letter in this collection is written by Hawkins from Goodrich's Landing.
John Parker Hawkins (1830 - 1914), born in Indiana, graduated 40th in the West Point class of 1852. He began the Civil War as assistant commissary in St. Louis, was promoted to chief commissary of the XIII Corps, and then chief commissary of the Army of the Tennessee. In 1863, Hawkins was promoted to brigadier general of volunteers and named to command the District of Northeastern Louisiana, with a division of COLORED SOLDIERS. He commanded at Vicksburg for much of the rest of the war, and took part in the Mobile campaign of 1865. At the end of the war he was promoted to major general of volunteers and of regulars.
The collection includes the following letters:
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. H.Q. Dist. N.E. La / Goodrich's Ldg. / Oct. 28, (18)63. Addressed to: Brig. Genl. J.L. Kieman / Milliken's Bend. "A Boat is in route to take the priisoners to Vicksburg, have them ready and escort, one capt, two Lieuts & twenty five men. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. comdg." In ink. 4 3/4 X 7 7/8 Inches.
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. Head Qrs. Dist. N.E. La / Goodrich's Ldg. / Oct. 28, '63. Addressed to: Brig. Genl. Kiernan / Comdg, / Milliken's Bend. "Genl, Search and take from the Rebel deserters all arms of any kind, place them under a strong guard and send them to Vicksburg by first Boat under strong guard. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg." In ink. 7 3/8 X 7 3/4 Inches.
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. Hd Qrs Dist N.E. La. / Goodrich's Ldg. Nove 8th 1863. Addressed to: Commdg Office / Milliken's Bend. "It is reported four-thousand rebels have crossed below Grand Gulf into La. Key out scouts on Richmond road. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg." In ink. 6 X 7 7/8 Inches.
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig Genl. Comdg. Goodrich's Landing / Nov. 9, 63. Addressed to: Brig. Genl. J.L. Kiernan / Comdg. / Milliken's Bend. "Four Thousand Rebel Cavalry & eight Pieces of Arty are reported at Floyd. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg." In ink. 4 7/8 X 7 3/4 Inches.
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. Goodrich's Landing / Nov. 17, 1863. Addressed to: Maj. Genl McPherson / Vicksburg. "Colonel Ballinger at Milliken's Bend telegraphs that Rebel Cavalry yesterday and today were crossing the Miss(issippi) River below Perkins Ldg. Reported to be Wirt Adams Command. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg." In ink. 6 1/2 X 7 7/8 Inches.
ALS. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. Goodrich's Ldg. / Jany 24, 64. "Have the Madison & Dligent left Vicksburg (?) / John P. Hawkins / Brig. Genl. / Comg. / (To) Maj. Genl. McPherson." In ink. 4 5/8 X 7 3/4 Inches.
Accompanied by what appears to be a field copy of a seventh letter from Hawkins to Col. Ballinger - ALS (Secretarial). John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg. No date. Circa 1863. "Col. Ballinger / Lieut. Johnson, a recruiting officer from Vicksburg is reported conscripting Negroes near Omega Ldg. Should he visit your place put him in close arrest and report the fact to these H.Qs. By order & c. John P. Hawkins, Brig. Genl. Comdg." In pencil. 7 7/8 X 5 Inches.
Julian Bryant, the nephew of famed journalist, editor, and poet William Cullen Bryant, served in 1863 as a Major of the newly organized regiment, the 1st Mississippi Infantry (African Descent). He and his regiment fought at Milliken's Bend, a brutal engagement where colored soldiers and white officers of colored regiments were targeted by the Confederate Army. With the help of this uncle, Bryant participated in the campaign to allow colored units equal responsibilities, including combat, with regular white units. Bryant filed a full and detailed report on HAWKINS on October 10, 1863. In his report he found that the contrabans were nearly always unfairly treated and government contracts with the blacks were often ignored, treating them as nothing more than a slave labor force. Upon reading the report, GENERAL HAWKINS commented that if improvements were not made soon then the newly free blacks would be better off with their former masters.
CONDITION: Light toning and some wear to edges. A few fold marks. VG overall.
PROVENANCE: From the personal collection of Thomas Truxton Moebs, author of "Black soldiers - Black sailors - Black ink : research guide on African-Americans in U.S. military history, 1526-1900"