Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - November - 2023 Issue

The Civil War & Reconstruction in North & South Carolina from L & T Respess Books

The Civil War in the Carolinas.

L & T Respess Books has issued their List 355: Civil War & Reconstruction in North & South Carolina. South Carolina was the prime instigator of secession and the Civil War that followed; North Carolina slower to join the cause. When Lincoln started calling on southern states to send soldiers to defend the Union is when several others, North Carolina included, joined the fray. The material fits within a tight chronological window, mostly eighteen sixty-something. The South, in particular, was a very different place before and after this period. There are many letters from soldiers fighting in the war in this collection. Books, broadsides, manuscripts, documents, maps, and newspapers are offered. Oddly, there is not much about the slaves. The war was fought primarily over the issue of slavery, but the slaves themselves did not play a major role. Here are a few choices for those whose collections are centered on the Carolinas.


A long war can take its toll on the people, particularly those called to do the actual fighting. By 1863, Respess says “the North Carolina mountains filled with evaders of conscription and deserters.” In an about-face, some wanted to to secede from the Confederacy. Running for reelection in 1864, North Carolina Governor Zebulon Vance called for perseverance. He spoke in Wilkesboro on February 22, 1864, encouraging people to continue obeying the law and the state constitution. This broadsheet of his speech is titled Address of Gov. Vance on the Condition of the Country. He argued against seeking a separate peace with the Union, not to “fly to evils you know not of.” He continued, “I have no more doubt now about the establishment of the independence of the Southern Confederacy than I have of my own existence, provided we remain true to the cause we have solemnly taken to support...” And, “[North Carolina] will dare endure to the bitter end. The men who suffer are the men who win.” There was lots of suffering, though I'm not sure anyone really “won,” though the North prevailed. Vance at least won reelection and many more elections thereafter, including returning as Governor in the 1870s a decade after retiring, and serving as a North Carolina senator from 1879-1894, when he died in office. Item 13. Priced at $4,500.


How did people travel between the North and South when necessary during the Civil War? I'm not sure if it was even possible in parts of the South controlled by the Confederacy, but by 1864, New Bern, North Carolina, was in Union hands. That's when Mr. W. S. Benjamin needed to travel to New York. Item 40 is a loyalty oath and permit to travel he obtained. This document states that he is a “Loyal Citizen of the United States, residing in a State now in rebellion, or who has sympathized with the seceding States.” It says he is going to New York “on business,” and shall be furnished with the proper permits to return. $125.


Next is Resolutions Adopted by McGowan's Brigade, South Carolina Volunteers, from February 6, 1865. There is some irony here the members of the brigade probably did not notice. In part, it says “If we then judged that the enemy intended to impoverish and oppress us, we now know they propose to subjugate, enslave, disgrace, and destroy us...our cause is righteous and must prevail...unawed by future dangers, we declare our determination to battle to the end, and not lay down our arms until independence is secured. Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?” The irony, of course, is that their cause was to chain and enslave other people. It should also be noted that they did not battle to the end or refuse to lay down their arms until independence was won. A few months later, they laid down their arms. Item 99. $200.


This is a typescript account by Henry T. Bahnson entitled An Exchange of Prisoners dated 1913. Bahnson published a couple of pamphlets on the war but this one appears unpublished. A note by Bahnson's son said it was written by his father recounting his experiences as a Confederate soldier at the age of 17. The prisoner exchange took place between two steamboats anchored on the James River on Christmas Day, 1863. Bahnson writes, “Gaunt and haggard, their shivering frames scantily covered with filthy rags, these spectres of humanity tottered and crawled, or were carried, until each vessel had exchanged 500 object lessons of the horrors of Northern and Southern military prisons.” He notes there was “jocular banter” between the men during the exchange, but the language became venomous, with curses and threats, once the exchange was completed. Item 4. $300.


We tend to think the Civil War ended when Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865, but he surrendered only his army. There was no universal surrender from the top. It wasn't until Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrendered to Sherman on April 24 in Durham, North Carolina, that the war for the most part ended, though fighting still continued in smaller locations. This is a letter written by Albert Whitley, a Sergeant in the Union army, to his sister on April 19. He recounts Sherman's march from Goldsboro to Raleigh and the continuing skirmishes. He said that Johnston had proposed surrender. While a surrender had not yet been arranged, Whitley writes “...undoubted the War will end soon.” Item 48. $300.


That left just one item to close out North Carolina's secession. Item 59 is An Ordinance Declaring Null and Void the Ordinance of May 20th, 1865 (should be 1861). This didn't just repeal North Carolina's secession, it said it was now and always had been null and void. Furthermore, it declared any amendments to the state Constitution after secession null and void, restoring North Carolina's constitution of 1789 that ratified the U. S. Constitution. Item 59. $1,250.


L & T Respess Books may be reached at 413-727-3435 or respessbooks@cstone.net.

Rare Book Monthly

  • Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Roberts (David) & Croly (George). The Holy Land, Syria, Idumae, Arabia, Egypt and Nubia. Lond. 1842 - 1843 [-49]. First Edn. €10,000 to €15,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Incunabula: O'Fihily (Maurice). Duns Scotus Joannes: O'Fihely, Maurice Abp… Venice, 20th November 1497. €8,000 to €12,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: An important file of documents with provenance to G.A. Newsom, manager of the Jacob’s Factory in Dublin, occupied by insurgents during Easter Week 1916. €6,000 to €9,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: WILDE (Oscar), 1854-1900, playwright, aesthete and wit. A lock of Wilde’s Hair, presented by his son to the distinguished Irish actor Mícheál MacLiammóir. €6,000 to €8,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Heaney (Seamus). Bog Poems, London, 1975. Special Limited Edition, No. 33 of 150 Copies, Signed by Author. Illus. by Barrie Cooke. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Binding: Burke, Thomas O.P. (de Burgo). Hibernia Dominicana, Sive Historia Provinciae Hiberniae Ordinis Praedicatorum, ... 1762. First Edition. €4,000 to €6,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: COLLINS, Michael. An important TL, 29 July 1922, addressed to GOVERNMENT on ‘suggested Proclamation warning all concerned that troops have orders to shoot prisoners found sniping, ambushing etc.’. €3,000 to €4,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Scott Fitzgerald (F.) The Great Gatsby, New York (Charles Scribner's Sons) 1925, First Edn. €2,000 to €3,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Yeats (W.B.) The Poems of W.B. Yeats, 2 vols. Lond. (MacMillan & Co.) 1949. Limited Edition, No. 46 of 375 Copies Only, Signed by W.B. Yeats. €1,500 to €2,000.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of the Russian Empire, Description in English and French, Lg. folio London (S. Gosnell) 1803. First Edn. €1,000 to €1,500.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Miller (William) Publisher. The Costume of Turkey, Illustrated by a Series of Engravings. Lg. folio Lond.(T. Bensley) 1802. First Edn. €800 to €1,200.
    Fonsie Mealy’s, Dec. 12-13: Mason (Geo. Henry). The Costume of China, Illustrated with Sixty Engravings. Lg. folio London (for W. Miller) 1800. First Edn. €1,400 to €1,800
  • Sotheby’s
    Fine Books and Manuscripts
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane] — Isaac D'Israeli. Jane Austen's copy of Curiosities of Literature. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: [Austen, Jane]. A handsome first edition in boards of the author's debut novel. 70,000 - 100,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Brontë, Charlotte. "I am no bird; and no net ensnares me..." 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Eliot, George. The author's magnum opus. 25,000 - 35,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Whitman, Walt. Manuscript written upon the Death of Lincoln, 1865. 60,000 - 80,000 USD
  • Sotheby’s
    Important Modern Literature from the Library of an American Filmmaker
    8 December 2023
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Kerouac, Jack. Typescript scroll of The Dharma Bums. Typed by Kerouac in Orlando, Florida, 1957, published by Viking in 1958. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. The autograph manuscript of "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber." [Key West, finished April 1936]. 300,000 - 500,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Miller, Henry. Typescript of The Last Book, a working title for Tropic of Cancer, written circa 1931–1932. 100,000 - 150,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Ruscha, Ed. Twentysix Gasoline Stations, with a lengthy inscription to Joe Goode. 40,000 - 60,000 USD
    Sotheby’s, Dec. 8: Hemingway, Ernest. in our time, first edition of Hemingway’s second book. 30,000 - 50,000 USD
  • Swann
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Samuel Augustus Mitchell, A New Map of Texas, Oregon and California with the Regions Adjoining, Philadelphia, 1846. $3,500 to $5,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: 17th–19th-century case maps of various locations. $1,500 to $2,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Andreas Cellarius, Haemisphaerium Stellatum Boreale Cum Subiecto Haemisphaerio Terrestri, celestial chart, Amsterdam, 1708. $2,500 to $3,500.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: Vincenzo Coronelli, Set of engraved gores for Coronelli’s monumental 42-inch terrestrial globe, Venice, circa 1688–97. $18,000 to $22,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Lucas Janszoon Waghenaer, group of four navigational charts, Antwerp, 1580s. $2,000 to $3,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Thomas Bros, Block Book of Berkeley, Oakland, 1920s. $800 to $1,200.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Nieuhoff & John Ogilby, An Embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, map of China, plan of Canton, London, 1673. $1,200 to $1,800.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Frederick Sander, Reichenbachia, St. Albans, 1888-1894. $5,000 to $7,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Two early illustrated works on horsemanship and breeding, Nuremberg, early 18th century. $700 to $800.
    Maps & Atlases, Natural History & Color Plate Books
    December 7, 2023
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Gould, A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. Supplement to the First Edition, London, 1834; 1855. $40,000 to $60,000.
    Swann, Dec. 7: John Pinkerton, A General Collection of the Best and Most Interesting Voyages and Travels in All Parts of the World, London, 1808–14. $1,500 to $2,500.
    Swann, Dec. 7: Oakley Hoopes Bailey, Hackensack, New Jersey, Boston, 1896. $800 to $1,200.
    Valuable Books and Manuscripts
    London auction
    13 December
    Find out more
    Christie’s, Explore now
    TREW, Christoph Jacob (1695–1769). Plantae Selectae quarum imagines ad exemplaria naturalia Londini in hortus curiosorum. [Nuremberg: 1750–1773]. £30,000–40,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    VERBIEST, Ferdinand (1623–88). Liber Organicus Astronomiae Europaeae apud Sinas restituate. [Beijing: Board of Astronomy, 1674]. £250,000–350,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF ALICE & NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT. Master of Jean Rolin (active 1445–65). Book of Hours, use of Paris, in Latin and French, [Paris, c.1450–1460]. £120,000–180,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    A SILVER MICROSCOPE. Probably by Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1723), c.1700. £150,000–250,000
    Christie’s, Explore now
    C.1311. £100,000–150,000

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