July 2d 1866
Gen. R. E. Lee
A few months ago there appeared in our city papers an extract from a Northern Journal announcing that you were engaged in writing a Standard History of the late War. I am quite anxious to secure an Agency for your book forth covering War. As I do not know who will publish it – this is the only excuse I can offer for presuming to address you. If it is not unpardonable, I would respectfully request General Lee to forward this application to the publishing party. They will consider it addressed to themselves. All parties interested may rest assured that if incessant application to the business if Industry Energy and indomitable perseverance can do it, Lee’s record of the “great Conflict” will be put into the hands of every one if I am made Agent for the same.
My reason for making a move at this early day is to be the first applicant and to see if possible to get the appointment
The cause which impels me this action justifies me in it. I am the only Son of a “War Widow” and must Support my old Mother. I was appointed Agent for Schinaker’s History of the War published by Zeigler McCurdy’s Co. St. Louis for three counties. When a specimen copy reached me I examined it closely and concluded that it would not sell here. But not willing to trust my own judgment I consulted wiser heads. Several leading men have advised me to give it up at once – which I have done – Among them R. W. Loughery and W. G. Barrett Editors, Texas Republican and Harrison Flag. Professor W. P. Huggins, Dr. Tom Kavanaugh and many others – If you are pleased to select me as Agent, your best interests shall be served. Yours Respectfully
John W. Ford
The following letters were submitted in support of Mr. John W. Ford for the Agency of General Lee’s anticipated work about the Civil War:
July 1, 1866.
My dear Sir:
The writer of this a young man of industry and strict integrity. The agency he requests will be a great favor to him and prove of advantage to those who publish your forthcoming history.
I sincerely hope you will not part with the copyright of your work. If you publish it yourself, you will realize from a million to a million and a half dollars from it
R. W. Loughery
Marshall July, 2, ‘66
Gen. R. E. Lee
Dr Sir. John W. Ford is what he represents himself to be the only son of a “war widow” and a young man of intelligence and unquestioned ability. To circulate your book would be with him – not only a matter of interest but also a “labor of love.”
If you can put him in the way of obtaining an agency you will both facilitate the sale of your book, and do good.
E. M. Marvin
Minister of the Gospel
Methodist E. Church South
July 2nd 1866
Genl R E Lee
We take pleasure in indorsing the application of young Mr Ford of this place, asking an agency for the sale of your contemplated history of the late war. He is every way worthy of the position & we would be pleased to see him have it
Atty at Law
I heartily concur in the accompanying recommendations of Mr. John Ford and have no hesitancy in saying that if he receives the appointment he will zealously and faithfully devote himself to the work.
Your obt. Servt
Wm G. Barrett
Editor Harrison Flag
To Gen. R. E. Lee
July 2d 1866
Dear Sir The letter of young Mr. Ford which you will find enclosed asking an agency to sell your forthcoming History of the Late War I hope will meet with due consideration.
I have known him for some time and know him to be a very energetic young man well qualified for an agency of the kind he seeks Yours
S. D. Ward