This letter, very lightly edited, was published in the Atlanta Constitution, 21 Apr 95, p. 22, c. 1, 2, under the title “Who is the Author?” For some reason, the published copy has the salutation “Dear Sir,” and does not include a signature. According to the article, it was found in a tru[n]k purchased at an estate sale in Lincolnton, N.C., and the editor solicited comments as to the authorship. Two persons quickly responded, contending that the author was James Conner. Id., 28 Apr 95, p. 12, c. 1-7; Id., 2 May 95, p. 7, c. 4. The authorship was confirmed by Louis Von Standenmayer, the nephew of Conner, who stated that he sold the contents of the house in Lincolnton, but did not know that private family papers were being inadvertently sold. Id., 14 May 95, p. 4, c. 5. The bulk of the Conner papers are in the South Carolina Historical Society; this letter is the only item of wartime correspondence of Conner in the separate collection at South Caroliniana.
Interestingly, this 7/22/1861 letter appears to be an earlier version of this one written two days later. In many ways they are similar (in fact, one similar in its misspelling of “ate” as “eat” to other letters I’ve posted from unidentified members of the Legion), but note what Conner says in the first letter:
I have written in a great hurry, on my lap, and only for yourself and the family.
I think it likely that the second Conner letter was a cleaned up version of his first, fit for publication, or at least for distribution to other than family.
Here’s a brief sketch of James Conner, who at the time of the battle was acting major of the Legion, but was technically captain of Company A, the Washington Light Infantry:
James Conner: born 9/1/1829, Charleston SC; graduated South Carolina College 1849; pre-war lawyer, U. S. District Attorney 1856-1860; Captain, Hampton’s Legion, 5/61; Major, 7/21/61; Colonel 22nd NC 3/26/62; wounded at Gaines’s Mill, VA 6/26/62 – fractured left leg; JAG 2nd Corps AoNV 10/8/63; Brig. Gen. (special) 6/1/64; commanded McGowan’s Brigade/Wilcox’s Division/3rd Corps AoNV 6/64 to 8/64; Lane’s Brig/Wilcox’s Div/3rd Corps AoNV 8/64; Conner’s Brigade/Kershaw’s Div/1st Corps AoNV 8/64 to 10/64; wounded at Fisher’s Hill, Va. 10/13/64, left leg amputated; no record of parole; resumed law practice in Charleston, SC; Attorney General, SC 1876; commanded “rifle clubs” during Wad Hampton’s 1876 gubernatorial campaign; died Richmond, VA 6/26/1883; buried Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, SC.