Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"I Speak of the Well Known Spy - 'Beauregard'"

I found this fascinating letter at the Carl Albert Congressional Research and Studies Center Congressional Archives. The correspondence reveals why detective papers were so important to the Red Legs. The letter was written by Ms. Fannie Wright for Jack L. Bridges, alias “Beauregard” and addressed to Kansas Congressman Sidney Clarke. Clarke was a former assistant provost marshal at Fort Leavenworth and had once served as Senator James H. Lane’s personal secretary. As Kip Lindberg and I wrote some time ago, it is perhaps the most flagrant surviving example of the Red Leg patronage system. It would appear that the note was written in February 1865.

Syracuse Kans Feb 7

Hon Sidney Clarke

For a friend in the following fix. He was mustered into the U states service by Col Robt White of St. Louis, just before the battle of Lexington, in the hurry of the moment he was given no papers certifying to his enlistment, was mustered as “scout & spy, consequently , his name does not appear on muster roll at Wash. I speak of the well known spy, - Beauregard. The sum of my request is this – that “detective papers” be given him under you, you undoubtedly are aware of the gain pecuniary to be realized from such papers exercising jurisdiction over country south of this, he expecting to share liberally with his friends. Write immediately saying what can be done about these papers.

Direct Troy Doniphan Co

Very Respectfully
Address Fannie L. Wright

Jack L. Bridges aka "Beauregard"

Kansas Congressman Sidney Clarke

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  1. Welcome back, Matt. Your blog is as interesting and useful as ever!

  2. Thanks! I will be posting a lot more material soon!