Very good. Autograph letter signed, 1 page on Democratic National Congressional Committee letterhead, from Josiah Hazen Shinn (1859-1917) to a Mr. Weaver. Undated, ca, 1910. Shinn was an educator and historian from Arkansas who published extensively on Arkansas history, among other subjects. This letter documents his attempts to determine the truth about famed African explorer Henry Morton Stanley's service in the 6th Arkansas Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War. His interest is in part, apparently, the result of controversy stirred up by another African explorer, Charles Chaillé-Long (1842-1917), who had accused Stanley of being the same person as a thief named "J.C. Stanley." Shinn says that Col. Chaillé-Long holds a grudge against Stanley and that he has informed the Colonel that "H.M. Stanley and J.C. Stanley were different persons." Later in the letter he comments further on this grudge:
Col. Du Chaille Long was in Africa also and gained honors equal to Stanley -- outranked Stanley, but could never get along with him. Long was a Marylander and hates Stanley. He desires to sting him even after his death - a bitter thing.
Shinn was still wrestling, however, with the fact that Stanley appeared to have been a deserter:
Still how did H.M. get out of the Confederate Army? He was captured one of his biographers states, but escaped and did not return to his command. Right here is the only weak spot in [his] record and until it is cleared he stands as a deserter but not a thief." You say that Stanley names his officers....I want to identify the "Dixie Grays" absolutely, as this will be a fine point in Arkansas History.
It is now widely accepted that Stanley did, in fact, desert his Confederate unit and join the Union Army in order to escape life in a prison camp (he had been captured at the Battle of Shiloh). .