Grouping of Three Extremely Rare Confederate Documents
Grouping of Three Extremely Rare Confederate Documents – All three of these documents pertain to the same Confederate officer, Major David Benjamin Bridgford, Born in Canada to a British officer, Bridgford was a merchant with business interests in New York City and Richmond, Virginia. He offered his services to the nascent Confederacy on April 15, 1861, and was commissioned a Captain in Company B of the 1st Virginia Battalion. His responsibilities were initially that of a Commissary Officer. Promoted to Major, on October 11, 1862, he was attached to the 2nd Corps of the Army of Northern Virginia, and in January 1863, he became Provost Marshall for Gen. Stonewall Jackson. He was surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia on April 9, 1865.
D.B. Bridgford remained Jackson’s Provost Marshal, via his commanding the 1st Virginia Battalion (Irish), until Jackson’s death, in 1863. He appears in the Jackson Staff composite that is so well known. After Jackson died, Lee personally took over the supervision of the 2nd Corps Provost Guard, personally posting Bridgford, during the Gettysburg campaign, to watch his supply line in Winchester. Soon thereafter, Bridgford was Provost for the entire Army of Northern Virginia, with duties expanded to include the City of Petersburg, during the Siege. During the retreat from Petersburg, Bridgford took charge of the James River Squadron of Naval veterans. In this latter capacity, Bridgford signed virtually all of the Naval Departments paroles at Appomattox. Born in 1831, Bridgford died, in Brooklyn, NY, in 1888.
The first of the three documents, in this grouping, is Major Bridgford’s Commission as a Major, in the so-called “Provisional Army of the State of Virginia”, issued on October 11, 1862 and signed by Virginia Governor John Letcher.
The second document, printed on typical, brown, low quality, war-time Confederate paper, is a pass, issued by the “Office of the Provost Marshal, 2nd Army Corps, ANV, Winchester, July 2nd 1863”. The pass states that “Guards and pickets will pass Godfrey S. Miller & family on the Berryville ……. By order of Lt. Gen. T.J. Jackson R.E. Lee” Signed beneath: “D.B. Bridgford” Major and Provost Marshal 2nd Army Corps.
The third document is an Appomattox parole, also signed by Major Bridgford, in his capacity as Provost Marshal of the ANV. As all of these paroles are, this one is dated April 10th, 1865; unusually and quite rare to encounter though is the fact that this parole is signed by a Confederate officer, Major Brigdford, as his responsibilities dictated in signing Confederate navy men’s paroles, at Appomattox. The Confederate sailor listed on this parole is J. W. Fuller, CSN; Fuller is referenced in a number of resources listing Confederate naval personnel, as a “coal heaver”.
All of these documents are in good condition and represent an extreme rarity in Confederate ephemera.