War Between the States

9th Kentucky Cavalry Battalion, C.S.A.

United States Congressman from Kentucky

(1837-1904) William Campbell Preston Breckenridge, known as "Willie," was a member of one of the most prominent political families in America. His grandfather served as a U.S. Senator, a cabinet level minister, and introduced the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798. His father left a political career for the ministry and reached his church's highest position when he was named Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly. He also helped to found the Unconditional Unionist Party. His uncle had served as Kentucky Secretary of State, and he was the first cousin of Confederate General and Vice President of the United States, John C. Breckenridge. He was a graduate of Centre College, in Danville, Ky., in 1855, and he went on to earn his Juris Doctor from the University of Louisville, in 1857, and engaged in the practice of law in Lexington, Ky. When the War Between the States broke out, he entered the Confederate service as captain of the 9th Kentucky Cavalry Battalion. Soon promoted to colonel of the battalion, he served with great distinction throughout the war under two legendary Confederate cavalry commanders; General John Hunt Morgan, and General "Fighting" Joe Wheeler. In the spring of 1865, he was part of the escort that accompanied President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet on their flight to Georgia. Colonel Breckenridge participated in the very last Confederate council of war, this taking place at Abbeville, S.C., in May 1865. Present at this meeting were President Jefferson Davis, Generals' John C. Breckenridge, Braxton Bragg, Basil Duke, George G. Dibrell, Samuel W. Ferguson, John C. Vaughn, and Colonel William C.P. Breckenridge. Colonel Breckenridge surrendered on May 10, 1865, at Washington, Ga. After the war, he returned to Lexington, Ky., where he resumed his law practice, and taught law at the University of Kentucky. He was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1885, where he served 5 consecutive terms, 1885-95. Known as a great orator, he was proudly nicknamed, "the silver tongued orator from Kentucky."

Card Signature: 3 1/2 x 2 1/4, in ink, Wm. C.P. Breckenridge, Lexington, Kentucky. Some ink smear in "Kentucky," otherwise very fine.

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