Rare Carte View Confederate Privateer John Yates Beall

Less than a handful known to exist!


Item No. CV48707 Category


Extremely rare carte view of Confederate privateer John Yates Beall. There are only a handful of these known to exist. At the onset of war, Beall would enlist in the 2nd Virginia Infantry. In mid-October, 1861 he would be detailed to transport a sick soldier to Jefferson County. While doing so he learned that Turner Ashby’s troops were under attack in nearby Bolivar Heights. Beal immediately headed in that direction joining Ashby’s men. He would lead a charge there which would result in a severe chest wound in the lungs. The wound would put an end to his infantry service. After a lengthy recovery, Beall would travel to Richmond in January 1863. There he met with Jefferson Davis and presented two proposals for the President of the Confederacy to consider. One plan was to sail to the Federal Prison located on Johnson’s Island in Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie and free the prisoners there and form an independent military force. Davis dismissed the concept but accepted his idea of allowing Beall to conduct irregular naval operations in the Chesapeake Bay. Beall armed with about 20 men and a small canoe outfitted with a sail did prove successful. Destroying a lighthouse, capturing several merchant ships carrying supplies and cutting a mooring cable to one submarine. After months of chasing the privateer, Union forces eventually caught Beall and his men. Thrown in irons and treated as pirates they would be imprisoned at Fort McHenry for a time before being moved to a ship anchored off Fort Monroe. They would be moved again to Point Lookout before being to Union-occupied City Point. Eventually, he would find his way back to Richmond by way of a prisoner exchange. During the summer of 1864 he would head to Canada and there meet Lieutenant Colonel Jacob Thompson. Thompson had a similar plan to free Confederate prisoner’s located on Johnson Island. Beall accepted and was tasked with leading the endeavor. On September 19, Beall and a crew of nineteen men disguised as civilian passengers seized the ferry Philo Parsons en route to Sandusky Bay. They had planned to capture the gunboat Michigan once they entered the bay but the agents tasked with drugging the crew of the Michigan were apprehended and the plan fell apart. Beall and his party of raiders were forced to return to Canada. He would next join a band of men with plans to derail trains carrying Confederate prisoners. The plan failed and on December, 19th Beall was apprehended at Niagara Falls. He was tried for his failed mission to free Confederate prisoner’s on Johnson’s Island, spying, and for attempting to derail trains carrying civilian passengers. Convicted of the charges he was moved to Fort Columbus in New York. Several extraordinary attempts were made to obtain a pardon for Beall including pleas to Lincoln. All failed and he was hung on February 24, 1865. His last words being “I protest against this execution. It is absolute murder. Brutal murder. I die in the service and defense of my country!”. There are merely a handful of the view known to exist. He strikes a very spiteful gaze in this view. They are believed to have been taken while he was imprisoned at Fort Columbus to be given to friends and family. All known views are absent of any back mark as is the case here. Slightly trimmed along the bottom but this one is probably in the best condition of all the views I have seen. Extremely rare view!

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