Fort Jackson (Ga.) in subject [X]
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1 Title:   William Gibbs McAdoo letter  Requires cookie*
  Creator:   McAdoo, W. G. (William Gibbs), 1820-1894  
  Dates:   1866 April 23  
A love letter, faintly veiled, to an unmarried young woman, written at the time McAdoo was married to the daughter of General John Floyd, a prominent Tennessee Indian fighter. His wife was a published author, and he and she apparently enjoyed together cultural pursuits (see biography at Georgia Historical Society), pursuits which his letter indicates would have found acceptance with Miss Prudden. The Prudden liason never broke the marriage, as he spent the remainder of his life with his then wife. Written from the coast of Georgia, the letter is framed against a background of local history and scenery, but it is constructed in a literary fashion. McAdoo reveals himself to be eloquent of word, not unphilosophical, and well read. On page 2, there appears an original poem by McAdoo, a point of significance. The National Union Catalog shows all McAdoo's published writings to have been non-literary. The manuscript sections of the American Book Prices Current for the period 1945-1977 show no appearance of McAdoo manuscript material. The tone of the letter and his comprehension of poetry (e.g. quote from Campbell on page 1 of the typescript) create the impression that McAdoo was inclined to verbal eloquence and resorted to paper for its recording. His literary output, however, has not come to light. This may be the sole surviving example of his poetry. Most of the local historical and natural scenery comment reveals what is already known, some of it, however, nicely presented within the literary framework already noted, is of interest from that perspectives and hence transcends being purely a rehash of already available local historical information. There are several descriptions of War damage which may not be available elsewhere (e.g., comment of Dungeness on page 3 of the typescript). On one occasion, the letter displays a boyish humor. Noting the passivity of basking alligators to the approach of his steamer, he finds them "as languid and motionless as if they were, also, under the protection of the Freedman's Bureau." On another occasion, it is clear that his sentiment for the Confederacy had not died in April of 1865; passing Fort Jackson, he notes: "As we came down the Savannah River, we passed the dismantled old Fort Jackson. A piece of artillery lying here and there tumbled out of its embrasure, covered with rust, and the general neglect and decay, seemed sadly typical of the fortunes of that power which had it manned and bristling with guns when I last visited the spot two and a half years ago." Should there ever be a full fledged biographical treatment of McAdoo, this letter presents some evidence of the romantic side of the man's make-up together with a lead for the biographer to develop. There is no question that McAdoo hoped to build upon whatever the extent of his relationship with Miss Prudden had been. Additionally and specifically, this letter gives his thought on war. Additionally and generally, the letter displays evidence of a man quite at home in worlds less structured than that of the jurist. The typescript of the original accompanies it.
  Identifier:   ms1400  
  Repository:   Hargrett Library  
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