To John Henry Upshur
, (formerly, and rightly, Nottingham
in the Navy of the remaining United States of America
Myself, together with others formerly your friends, John, founding our faith in your integrity upon the rather fair promise of your youth, had entertained, down to a quite recent date, a faint yet lingering hope that your continued adherence to the miserable and tyrannous rule of Lincoln
and his Cabinet might be referred to extraordinary and insuperable difficulties in the way of your escape
from the malicious vigilance or your Federal associates; that your remaining with them was an involuntary detention;
that your heart, still ‘"in the right place,"’ and full of grateful and fond remembrances of mother, friends, Virginia
, home, if not openly, at least secretly, sighed for deliverance from the unholy trammels, and that you only awaited the auspicious moment to seize and avail yourself of it.
too many noble spirits, whose situation could not possibly be better than your own, have ‘"come out from among them,"’ risking their all, and finally overcoming every obstacle — too many such, I say, to warrant us in believing that you have not cast a gratuitous and scandalous blot upon the escutcheon of a family--my family
--to whose name,
even, you enjoy only an equivocal right, and which, up to the dark beginning of your treason, had proudly held its head erect and high above all imputation of reproach.
I shall not apologize for the stern utterance of strict, albeit, perchance, unpalatable, truth John; I only regret much that I cannot make this a verbal communication, instead of having thus to resort to a medium involving so much uncertainty of its ever reaching you. I would then audibly address you, as I do now by the only means at my disposal, in terms to this effect: --"John Nottingham
, (no longer Upshur
have affixed the sole dishonor it has ever sustained upon the name of my family — a name which you were once graciously permitted to assume, but to which your accorded title justly expired the instant you basely sought to dishonor it. In arraying yourself in arms against your country, you have, with the old villain Scott
, and the rest, proved yourself a traitor
--to your State; to the family which confided to your defence and keeping the sacred trust of a most honorable name; to the hallowed memories of the good and brave, whose spirits have been spared this last humiliation at your hands; to all, all, a traitor,
a degenerate, submissive pander to the will of a vulgar, impotent, God-forsaken, deluded despot ! Ah ! Corydon
, Gorydon, quae te dementia cepit?
That a monied pollution is better than generous poverty ! Certain, perhaps increased, pay for criminal services, preferable to the chances of honest diminution thereof!
But, twas ever your failing, John — the ‘"itching palm,"’ and it must explain your conduct now.
Now, in consideration of all this, John, it is my purpose to admonish you, that blood is the sole specific for dishonor,--that, for a man to publish a vendetta were the grossest folly, if he at all suspected the flinching of his heart or arm from its accomplishment, --that a sword has long graced your side; and that I now wear one, too, although the warlike weapon is to me a comparatively novel acquisition; yet I warn you to guard this cartel always in your memory; for Providence
, in these desperate times, may far sooner intersect our paths than either of us can dream of now and whenever and wherever he does, I fear not to invoke a just and retributive God to sustain and defend the right.
Thos. W. Upshva
, ‘"Wise Legion,"’
Army of the Confederate States of America
July 4, 1861.