ALS, one page, 8.25 x 11, State of Minnesota Executive Department letterhead, circa April 23, 1898. Short note to his friend Cora McNeill on the bottom of a typed letter he has received in the state prison in Stillwater, Minnesota, from Minnesota Governor David M. Clough. Clough’s letter, dated April 23, 1898, reads, in full: “I am in receipt of your letter of the 20th inst., expressing your desire to fight for your country in the event of war with Spain. Your request will be given careful consideration.” At the bottom, Younger writes: “Cora you can keep this for me and rest assured if I get to go to Cuba I will win as many honors as any one of my rank or get killed on some battlefield trying.” In very good to fine condition, with intersecting folds, one through a single letter of signature, uniform toning, a few spots of foxing, and some scattered light creases.
After serving 22 years of his life sentence for the attempted robbery of the bank at Northfield, Minnesota, Cole Younger saw the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine and the impending war with Spain as a potential opportunity for his release. Three days before Madrid officially declared war on the United States, he wrote a letter to Governor Clough offering his services in the army. Despite the urging of several reputable citizens and political figures, including friend Cora McNeill and her husband, Minneapolis Judge George M. Bennett, this request was denied and Younger remained in prison until his parole in 1901. An interesting note from the American outlaw and self-proclaimed ‘Confederate avenger’ as he attempts to get out of prison and back on the battlefields.