Charleston: 1850. Autograph Letter, signed by Kurtz of the Corps of Engineers. Written on recto of first page only. Single leaf folded to 8" x 10." , [3 blanks] pp. Very Good.
The Letter, reporting on construction at Fort Sumter in 1850, is of obvious interest for understanding the military operations of the Civil War, particularly its beginnings ten years later. Lieutenant Kurtz reports that the "work at Ft: Sumter has progressed steadily" during Captain Bowman's temporary absence from Charleston. "The course of brick work on the gorge being now completed through its length. The concreting is advanced to the middle of the North face." Kurtz also described problems that he had encountered: "Walker's Lighter starts this morning for bricks, having been unable sooner to obtain a crew. Johnson is sick with 'broken bone fever.' Mulvaney has not arrived, the two lighters, in consequence, are idle. The Ft. Sumter men are all at work again. Mr. Rabaski is still confined to the house."
Lieutenant John D. Kurtz, an 1842 West Point graduate, was assigned to the Corps of Engineers as a second lieutenant at Charleston. In 1852, assigned to Washington, he worked in the office of the Chief of Engineers. During the Civil War, he remained with the Union. Captain Alexander Hamilton Bowman (1803-1865), an 1825 West Point graduate, was a veteran member of the Corps of Engineers along the Gulf Coast and South Carolina. He supervised military construction in and around Charleston harbor, a position he retained until 1851. From March 1861-July 1864, Bowman was Superintendent of the United Sates Military Academy at West Point. Item #39134