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William Preston letter-book, 1864-1865

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Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig


William Preston letter-book




University of Kentucky Special CollectionsLexington, Kentucky 40506


Arranged chronologically.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], William Preston letter-book, 1864-1865, 1M64M120, Special Collections, University of Kentucky.


153 pieces.


Lawyer, diplomat, politician. William Preston, born near Louisville, Ky. in 1816, graduated from Harvard Law School in 1838 and practiced law in Louisville until the outbreak of the Mexican War. He served in the Mexican War as Lt. Colonel of the 4th Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry and in 1858 was appointed Minister to Spain where he remained until 1861. He entered the Confederate Army in August, 1861 and subsequently was made a brigadier-general. In January, 1864 he was appointed Minister to Mexico from the Confederate States by Jefferson Davis.

Scope and Content

A negative microfilm of the original is also available; film number: M-568.

The collection is comprised of letters written by William Preston to various Confederate officials in an attempt to establish diplomatic relations between the C. S. A. and Mexico. Also included is a typescript of the original. Correspondents include Jefferson Davis, Judah P. Benjamin, John Slidell, James A. Seddon and others written from Havana, Nassau and several other places outside the Confederate States. Preston discusses in detail his efforts to reach Maximilian and Maximilian's intentions. When he was unsuccessful in his mission, he joined E. Kirby-Smith's command in Texas and was elevated to Major-General.


  • Davis, Jefferson, 1808-1889.
  • Benjamin, J. P. (Judah Philip), 1811-1884.
  • Slidell, John, 1793-1871.
  • Seddon, James Alexander, 1815-1880.
  • Maxmilian, Ferdinand, 1832-1867.
  • Kirby-Smith, Edmund, 1824-1893.
  • Confederate States of America.--Army.
  • United States.--Army.--Kentucky Volunteer Infantry.--Regiment, 4th.
  • Diplomats.
  • Lawyers.
  • Politicians.
  • Soldiers.
  • Confederate States of America--Foreign relations--Mexico.
  • Confederate States of America--Foreign relations--1861-1865.
  • Confederate States of America--History.
  • United States--Foreign relations--1861-1865.
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865.
  • Havana (Cuba).
  • Nassau (Bahamas).
  • Mexico.
  • Correspondence.
  • Typescripts

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