Thursday, September 8, 2011

September 9, 1861 (Tuesday): Greasing the Skids for L. P. Walker

Secretary of War Leroy Pope Walker
RICHMOND, VA., September 9, 1861.

Hon. L. P. WALKER,
Secretary of War:

MY DEAR SIR: When in connection with the manifestation by the Congress of a want of confidence in the administration of affairs of the War Department I asked you if you would like to go to Europe, you expressed so decided a purpose to retire from this Cabinet, but so positive a reluctance to the proposed change of service, that it is considered needless to recur to that proposition. I write now to inquire whether there is may other position to which I write now to inquire whether there is any other position to which I could assign you that would be entirely acceptable. The personal regard I feel for you, and my desire to promote your welfare and happiness, is, I hope, too well appreciated by you to permit a misconstruction of this offer. To sever the relation which has so closely united us is so repugnant to my sentiment that only the conviction of a public necessity, which I have unsuccessfully striven to avert, could have reconciled me to the separation.

Very respectfully and truly, yours,


Official Records Series IV, Vol. 1, Part 1, Page 600

Walker's tenure as Secretary of War was a week away from coming to an end.  Hard working, Walker was physically unable to meet the demands of his position and looked to be removed from it, and from the criticism of Congress and the press.  He remained on good terms with both Davis and the man who succeeded him, Judah P. Benjamin.  Before Sumter he was active in gathering support for the Southern Confederacy and on leaving his post he was appointed a general, although he saw no action in the field.  Returning to his native Alabama, he was a figure of no small political influence until his death in 1884.  His other claim to fame was having given discretionary orders to Beauregard which directly lead to the attack on Fort Sumter.

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