"DEAR SIR, I HOLD A COMMISSION FROM YOUR EXCELLENCY AS BEAT COMMANDANT BEARING DATE OF FEB. 14TH 64. I HAVE FILLED THE DUTIES IMPOSED UPON ME BY SAID COMMISSION, TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY AND WHEN YOUR EXCELLENCY CALLED OUT THE MILITIA LAST AUGUST I VOLUNTEERED IN A COMPANY OF CAVALRY AND WAS ELECT 2D LIEUT, AND IN THAT CAPACITY HAVE SERVED YOUR EXCELLENCY FAITHFULLY TO THIS TIME AND AM WILLING TO CONTINUE TO DO SO, AT THE SAME TIME I THINK IT JUST THAT I SHOULD HAVE THE SAME RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES THAT OTHER BEAT COMMANDANTS HAS AND FOR THIS REASON I PRESUME TO WRITE YOUR EXCELLENCY THIS LETTER.
"LAST YEAR I GAVE BOND FOR THE DELIVERY TO THE CONFEDERATE GOVT OF FIFTEEN HUNDRED POUNDS OF BACON & FIFTEEN HUNDRED POUNDS OF BEEF... I THEREFORE ASK YOUR EXCELLENCY TO GRANT ME A CERTIFICATE OF EXEMPTION FROM ENROLLMENT IN THE CONFEDERATE ARMY. I MAKE THIS REQUEST OF YOUR EXCELLENCY BECAUSE I THINK I HAVE SERVED YOU FAITHFULLY AS ONE OF YOUR OFFICERS AND HONESTLY THINK I AM ENTITLED TO THE SAME RIGHTS AS OTHER OFFICERS IN THIS COUNTY. I BELIEVE YOUR EXCELLENCY WOULD UPON INQUIRY THAT I AM THE ONLY BEAT COMMANDANT IN THIS COUNTY THAT IS DOING SERVICE IN THE FIELD. MY RANK AS BEAT COMMANDANT IS THAT OF 2D LIEUT... HOPING TO HEAR FROM YOUR EXCELLENCY SOON, I SUBSCRIBE MYSELF YOUR EXCELLENCY'S OBT. SERVANT. JONATHAN ENGLISH. 2D LIEUT. WATTS RANGERS."
The author was Jonathan Q. English [1831-1865], a farmer from Monroe County, Alabama. He was 2nd Lieutenant of the mounted Alabama Infantry Company known as the English Independent Cavalry, or Watts' Rangers, which had been formed by his cousin, Capt. Thomas C. English [1819-1884], a brother-in-law of Gen. George McClellan. Less than seven weeks after writing this Letter English died near his home during the Battle of Eliska, near the Baldwin/Monroe County line. Very few of the Company's men survived the Battle; but his cousin Thomas survived and was promoted to Major. At the time of his death, Jonathan had a wife and four young children. (Inventory #: 37121)