[Richmond? 1863]. Single page, 3-1/4" x 3." February 17, 1863. Lightly toned, mounting remnants on blank verso. Very good.
This brief note, written and signed by Campbell as Confederate Assistant Secretary of War, reads in full: "The sentence of death is to be executed friday 12.n. The wife of the convict is in this city, the bearer of this petition. | J.A. Campbell | A.S.W. | 17 feby 1863." We have been unable to identify the unlucky person who was the subject of this order.
Born in Georgia in 1811, Campbell graduated from the University of Georgia at the age of 14. He moved to Alabama in 1830, got married, became a lawyer, fought in the Creek War of 1836, and entered politics as a Jacksonian Democrat. He denounced the Free Soil movement, opposed nullification, and insisted on the rights of slaveholders. Franklin Pierce appointed him to the Supreme Court in 1853, where he was Chief Justice Taney's ally in the Dred Scott case. He resigned from the Court in 1861 and joined the Confederacy. President Davis appointed him Assistant Secretary of War in 1862; Campbell served as such during the War. He was detained and imprisoned for a few months after the War; former colleagues on the Court intervened in his behalf and secured his release. Item #37261