Addition, 1878, to George Alfred Trenholm Papers
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A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2008
Two manuscripts, 1878, added to the papers of to George Alfred Trenholm (1806-1876), written by his son, W.L. Trenholm in Charleston, S.C., re unsuccessful efforts to locate evidence of a proposal by the Confederate Cabinet in 1861 by which G.A. Trenholm's company would provide shipping services between South Carolina and islands in the Caribbean during the early days of the Civil War.
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Two letters, written 5 February and 18 September 1878, from Charleston by W[illiam] L[ee] Trenholm to J.D. Bruns and P.G.T. Beauregard in New Orleans, refer to discussions in May 1861 involving Beauregard, Trenholm, and the Confederate Cabinet regarding the firm of Trenholm, Fraser, and Company’s providing “certain steamers for Naval purposes” and the establishment and maintaining “under a Gov’t guaranty, a line of steam communication between Charleston and the West Indies.”
Trenholm regretfully informs Bruns and Beauregard that he had been unable to find any documentary evidence of the proposal as “the letters and papers I think now among those of Jno. Fraser & Co. which were destroyed when their office on Central Wharf was burnt. As a consequence he notes that he is unwilling “to furnish any statement from memory alone, of such important matters, or any which may affect other persons some of whom are not alive.”
W.L. Trenholm concludes his letter to Beauregard by maintaining that he had always been under the impression that “few if any of those present realised at all the scope and importance of the measures laid before them.”
George Alfred Trenholm (1806-1876) who owned John Fraser & Company of Charleston, S.C., and shipped sea island cotton to Fraser, Trenholm, and Co. (Liverpool, England) is sometimes identified as the “treasurer of the Confederacy.” During the Civil War, his son, William Lee Trenholm (1836-1901), served as Captain, Company B, Seventh Regiment, South Carolina Cavalry.