Image of Bledsoe, Albert T.

Bledsoe, Albert T.

b. November 9, 1809, in Frankfort, Kentucky; d. December 8, 1877, in Alexandria, Virginia. Leaving behind a four-year career as an Episcopalian minister, Bledsoe was admitted to the bar and came to Springfield, Illinois, to practice law in 1839. He was the law partner of Jesse B. Thomas. A year later he became the law partner of Edward D. Baker. He was active in Whig politics and was for a while the chief editorial writer for the Whig newspaper, Illinois State Journal. Bledsoe resided in Springfield at the Globe Tavern where Lincoln, after his marriage to Mary Todd in 1842, also lived. Until his departure from Springfield in 1847, Bledsoe was a friend and associate of Abraham Lincoln. Later on, however, Bledsoe became critical of Lincoln and served during the Civil War as the Confederacy's Assistant Secretary of War. Research that Bledsoe conducted in England led to his publication in 1866 of Is Davis a Traitor? Or was Secession a Constitutional Right Previous to the War of 1861?, a classic defense of the Confederacy. In 1877, Bledsoe founded The Southern Review, which he edited for a short time until his death later that same year.
Albert Taylor Bledsoe, Is Davis a Traitor or Was Secession a Constitutional Right Previous to the War of 1861? (Baltimore: Innes and Co., 1866); John J. Duff, A. Lincoln: Prairie Lawyer (New York: Bramhall House, 1960), 74-75;John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, eds., American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 3:11-12; William Murrell Hays, Polemics and Philosophy: A Biography of Albert Taylor Bledsoe (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1971); Allen Johnson, ed., Dictionary of American Biography (New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons, 1964), 1:2:364-65; Mark E. Neely Jr, The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia (New York: McGraw Hill, 1982), 32; John Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1899), 1:174. Illustration courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.