Papers (1861-1868) including correspondence, information on defense, wartime letters written to his future wife, assorted incidents.
Robert Tarleton (1838-1868) was a member of a wealthy Mobile, Alabama, family. He was educated at Princeton University and later studied medicine in New York City. Upon returning to the South on the eve of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate army as a private and served as clerk in Gen. Braxton Bragg's headquarters. He was commissioned lieutenant in Smith's Battery and stationed at Fort Morgan on Mobile Bay. Tarleton was captured with the surrender of the fort in 1864, but he escaped. He turned to cotton farming in Louisiana before returning to Mobile (1868) to enter the produce business. He had married Sallie Lightfoot in 1864, shortly after his escape.
The correspondence is largely concerned with personal affairs, but it contains considerable information on defense and military activities prior to the fall of Mobile.
Numerous comments describe the federal blockading and invasion fleet, including ironclads; the activities of the Confederate defending fleet and the C.S.A. ironclad Tennessee; picket duty; the grounding and defense of two blockade running vessels at the Mobile Bay entrance; and the siege of Mobile.
The wartime letters, written to his future wife, also have candid descriptions of camp quarters, travel on steamers, camp fare and delicacies from home, fortifications, Yankee conscription of ex-slaves for labor, and assorted incidents. The military activities at Fort Morgan, Tarleton's duty post at Mobile, are also closely described.
Tarleton's postwar letters reflect the problems in securing reliable Negro farm labor in the face of propaganda by Federal forces that ex-slaves would benefit from a division of land. A quasi-belief in the restoration of slavery among white landowners is also mentioned.
Processed by T. Sloan, December 1968
Encoded by Apex Data Services
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