Judge rules Confederate letters belong to South Carolina
Many letters are correspondence between generals or the Confederate government and South Carolina Govs. Francis Pickens and Milledge Bonham during the Civil War. Three are written by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
Other letters are from residents asking for help defending their communities or for the return of their slaves, who were taken from plantations to help build fortifications. Some of the letters provide gory details on the realities of war.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge John E. Waites issued an order Monday stating that the letters deal with the official duties of the governor and therefore are public records.
A large portion of the letters relate to the governor's military duties, Waites said in the ruling.
"These include information relating to military supplies and shortages, military preparations, the strength and condition of the military, documentation of troop movement, accounts and reports on results of certain battles, and use of funds for military purposes," Waites wrote.
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