19th-Century Confederate Surgeon Archive
Appraised Value: $8,000 - $10,000
IMAGE: 1 of 8
Appraisal Video: (3:07)
Books & Manuscripts
Ken Sanders Rare Books
GUEST: This is my great-great-grandfather, who was a surgeon in the 30th Texas Cavalry in the Civil War. These letters are from him to his wife, my great-great-grandmother. And they describe what was going on at that period of time, what hardships they went through and how much he missed her, and they have just been in my family for a long time. My mother had kept them in a box.
APPRAISER: We have his picture and his wife's picture. And he was a Confederate surgeon during the Civil War?
GUEST: He was a Confederate surgeon in the Civil War, yes.
APPRAISER: We see a lot of Union archives on the Antiques Roadshow, but Confederate archives are considerably rarer than anything from the Union soldiers.
GUEST: Are they?
APPRAISER: And this marvelous collection of, what are there, 19 letters all together, I believe?
GUEST: There are 19 letters.
APPRAISER: They create this archive of what it really was like to be a Confederate surgeon during the war. The troop movements that he describes...
GUEST: Yes, he...
APPRAISER: Tell me some of the other contents of these letters.
GUEST: He talks about how important his horse was and his boots. And he talks about the suffering that they went through, and the people dying and the sick people.
APPRAISER: They're very tender letters from him. He was lonely and it tells about just how difficult it was during that time. And we've got your lovely great-great-grandmother and great-great-grandpa right here in an old tintype from the 1860s.
APPRAISER: And then below, the cased image of great-great-grandpa as well.
GUEST: Yes, yes.
APPRAISER: It's a rich archive and it really details things about the Civil War that we don't normally get to know. And that we had this literate surgeon that was capable of producing such a body of literature And then, can you tell us the sad story of what happened to him after the Civil War?
GUEST: Well, after the war, there were very difficult times in Texas. And he was a surgeon in Pilot Grove, which is north-central Texas. And he was treating a man who was feuding with another faction at that time, and took this man into his home. And the other people rode up and called him out on the front porch and they asked him, you know, was he treating Captain Lee. And he said, "Yes, I am. I'll treat anyone who comes to me." And after they finished talking to him, he turned around and they shot him in the back and killed him.
APPRAISER: And that's the little book, Murder at the Corners, is about that difficult period in time in that area. And it mentions him and his death. And it was a very, very sad thing. I think that this is a case where the whole is worth more than the sum of the parts.
APPRAISER: And I think in a retail shop that this collection, with your photographs and the letters as the heart of it, in particular,
APPRAISER: would bring around $8,000 to $10,000.
GUEST: Oh, thank you.
APPRAISER: Thank you.
GUEST: It's very interesting.
APPRAISER: You're welcome.
GUEST: Thank you very much.
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