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Civil War and Reconstruction

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Civil War Veteran and Photographer Writes His Wife about the Devastating Chicago Fire

[GREAT CHICAGO FIRE]. THOMAS BLAIR WILSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to his wife Mary R. Wilson, October 20, 1871, Washington, Illinois. 4 pp., 5 x 8 in.

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I suppose you have ere long this heard of the destruction of the city of Chicago. 20,000 houses burned and 200 to 300,000,000 dollars loss  It was the biggest fire on record  Gid Hornish lost about 75 dollars by Insurance Companies breaking up since the great Chicago fire. The Company I am insured in, has gone up the spout.

Item #24481, $475

A Georgia Man Writes from Frederic City, Maryland, Hoping to Liberate Some ‘greenies’ from the “Hamites or the ‘freedmen’” Celebrating Passage of the “dirty 15th Amendment”

THOMAS FAYETTE, Autograph Letter Signed, to “Dearest cousin Mattie & Co.,” Frederic County, Maryland, June 3, 1870, 4 pp. 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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The Fifteenth Amendment provides that voting rights could not be based on race, color, or previous condition of servitude (slavery). It was ratified by enough states to become part of the Constitution on February 3, 1870. Maryland rejected it on February 26, 1870 – but finally did ratify it on May 7,1973.

Item #22490, $375

Lew Wallace Settles Squabbles Among Officers While Serving on Lincoln Assassination Commission

LEW WALLACE, Autograph Letter Signed, to William L. Marshall, Washington, D.C., May 18, 1865. 1 p., 7¾ x 9⅝ in.

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While Lew Wallace was in Washington as second-in-command of the military commission that tried the conspirators involved in President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the attempted assassination of Secretary of State William H. Seward, his junior officers squabbled in Baltimore. This brief letter attempts to establish the proper chain of command.

Item #21386.09, $380

New York Soldier Does Not Want to Fight for “Negro” Freedom but Does Support the USCT

[CIVIL WAR, UNION SOLDIER]. ROBERT H. GREENFIELD, Autograph Letter Signed, to his wife, Mary V. Greenfield, January 20, 1863, Camp Suffolk, Virginia. 3 pp., 4¾ x 7¾ in.

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It is hard to Sacrifise our Lives and to Leave house and our homes and Loved ones behind to Come away down in this forsaken Country to fight for what we supposed the Union. But Mary if this is what they Call fighting for the Union for to free the nigers I dont want to fight any such way. But now they say that if the negroes wants their freedom they must fight for it as our fore fathers did. They are arming and raising negro Regiments now in the South for to fight for their own freedom. That is Just what they Should of done six months ago.

Item #24472, $450

Civil War Veteran in Maryland Predicts the War Will End Soon

DAVID F. MCGOWAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Ellen [P. Fowler?], March 15, 1865, Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. 3 pp., 5x 8 in. Also includes DAVID F. McGOWAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Ellen [P. Fowler?], May 9, 1865, Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. 4 pp., 5 x 8 in.

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Sherridan has been doing some good work. 1400 prisoners passed here a few days ago that he captured And Report says he has captured 1000 more. A couple of officers stopped here last night, that had just been exchanged. They were captured last August and gave me a good account of their trials & tribulations down in Dixie. One of them gave $100. for a common pair of shoes from all appearances the Confederacy will soon collapse. Sherman has been heard from, is at Fayetteville, N. C. think Richmond will fall, before fall.

Civil War veteran David F. McGowan writes about prospects for Union victory and life in Maryland as the Civil War draws to a close.

Item #24471, $380

Union League of Philadelphia Supports Lincoln on Emancipation, African-American Troops in 1864

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. HENRY CHARLES LEA, Printed Pamphlet. No. 18: The Will of the People, [January – April 1864]. 8 pp., 5½ x 8½ in.

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The will of the people is supreme.

The vital principle of [Lincoln’s] whole administration has been his recognition of the fact, that our Government is simply a machine for carrying into effect THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

Item #24899, $250

Accounting for “Contraband” Sailors in the Civil War Navy Bureaucracy

SAMUEL P. LEE, Letter Signed, to Samuel B. Gregory, June 4, 1863. 1 p.

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When enslaved African Americans fled to the ships of the Union blockading fleet, officers often sent them to “contraband” camps such as those at Port Royal, South Carolina, or Fortress Monroe, Virginia, or shipped them north. However, the Union Navy, short on manpower, also encouraged able-bodied male contrabands to enlist. In September 1861, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles authorized the enlistment of contrabands “under the same forms and regulations as apply to other enlistments.” As crew members of navy ships and gunboats, these black sailors served on blockade duty and even on expeditions up southern rivers and creeks.

On January 5, 1863, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles ordered commanders of squadrons to forward monthly returns of “contrabands” employed on board the respective vessels under their command. The USS Western World had been part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in 1861 and 1862. After extensive overhaul, the Western World was reassigned in March 1863 to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron for service in the Chesapeake Bay.

In this letter, Acting Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee chastises the Western World’s commander for the lack of details in his May 1863 “Contraband” report.

Item #22845, $1,000

Returning the Western World to Blockade Duty to Squeeze the Confederacy

GIDEON WELLES, Manuscript Document Signed, to Samuel B. Gregory, February 16, 1863; Endorsement signed by Acting Rear Admiral SAMUEL P. LEE. 1 p.

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Item #22844, $1,000

1864 Campaign Blames McClellan’s Failures on Lincoln, Comparing the President’s Treatment of McClellan and Grant

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Printed Document. Democrat Campaign “Document No. 12” with headings “Lincoln’s Treatment of Gen. Grant,” “Mr. Lincoln’s Treatment of Gen. McClellan,” and “The Taint of Disunion.” [New York, 1864.] 8 pp., 5¾ x 8⅝ in.

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with the same determination to divide the country unless they can secure universal abolition, we are exposed to the same dangers every day, and God only knows in what unlucky hour our ruin may be consummated... Compare his policy with McClellan’s expression of readiness to receive any State when its people offer to submit to the Union.

This Democratic Party campaign pamphlet quotes an April 1864 letter to argue that Lincoln gave Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant free rein to conduct the war, after having interfered with and micromanaged McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign in 1862. The publication also declared that Republicans were stained with “The Taint of Disunion” and quoted from Republican speeches and editorials to insist that the Democrats were the party of “UNION AND PEACE.”

Item #24901.02, $450

Supporting McClellan against Lincoln in 1864 Campaign Pamphlets

[CIVIL WAR], Book. Hand-Book of the Democracy, a collection of 39 pamphlets. New York: Democratic Central Executive Campaign Documents, 1864; New York: Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge, 1863-1864. 33. Original printed wrappers with wrapper title, as issued. 5¾ x 8¾ in. Sabin 30204.

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This remarkable collection of campaign pamphlets from the presidential election of 1864 includes 17 pamphlets issued by the Democratic Central Executive Campaign Committee and 22 pamphlets published by the Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge. Together, they constitute a vindication of Democratic candidate and former general George B. McClellan and a harsh condemnation of Abraham Lincoln, his administration, and the northern conduct of the war.

Item #23744, $1,800

Illinois Senator Fights Copperheads

[CIVIL WAR], Pamphlet. Inkstand…Extra. February 1863, Boston, Massachusetts: Wright and Potter, Printers. 4 pp., 5 x 8 in.

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This brief pamphlet recounts a scene from the Illinois Senate in which Isaac Funk, “a man who pays over three thousand dollars per annum taxes toward the support of the government,” expressed his outrage to fellow senators and a packed gallery.

Item #24473, $375

Abraham Lincoln Signed Commission Promoting Officer in New Mexico Frontier Regiment

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Partially Printed Document Signed, Commission of Henry B. Bristol as Captain in the 5th United States Infantry, June 8, 1863. 1 p., 14 x 18 in.

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This commission, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, promotes 2nd Lieutenant Henry B. Bristol of the 5th United States Infantry to the rank of captain, effective June 1, 1862.

Item #25790, $9,500

Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism – Stirring Fear of Interracial Marriage Before 1864 Presidential Election

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. [RACISM], Print. “Miscegenation, or the Millennium of Abolitionism.” Political Cartoon. New York: Bromley & Co., 1864. 1 p., 20¾ x 13⅝ in.

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The second in a series of four racist political cartoons published in 1864 by Bromley & Company, which was closely affiliated with the Copperhead New York World newspaper. These prints sought to undermine Abraham Lincoln’s chances for reelection by branding him as a “miscegenationist” and playing on white fears of “race-mixing.” The cartoon scene pictures several interracial couples enjoying a day at the park, eating ice cream, discussing wedding plans, and a woman’s upcoming lecture. Two African American families have white employees, a carriage driver and footmen and a babysitter.

The only other example traced at auction brought $7,800 in 2010.

Item #25614, $7,800

Under Pressure, President Lincoln Pardons a Partisan Ranger

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Manuscript Document Signed as President. Co-Signed by Assistant Secretary of State F.W. Seward (son of Secretary of State William H. Seward). June 1, 1863, Washington, D.C. 2 pp., 10½ x 16¾ in.

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An official wartime pardon of Jacob Varner a month before Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg. Lincoln backs down in the face of Virginia Governor John Letcher’s demands that he set free two partisan rangers “convicted of mail robbery” behind Union lines. Yet he is able to save face by claiming, with truth, that “the Judge, U.S. Attorney, and U.S. Marshal for the said District, the jurors before whom the said Jacob Varner was tried, and the Postmaster General of the U. States. have all petitioned that he be released from further duress…”

Item #21227.99, $15,000

President Lincoln Vouches for a Maryland Unionist Congressman

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Robert C. Schenck, May 31, 1863, Washington, D.C. 1 p.

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I esteem Gov. Francis Thomas, as an able, and very true man. I do not know that he agrees with me in everything—perhaps he does not; but he has given me evidence of sincere friendship, & as I think, of patriotism.

Item #25464, $45,000

Fourth of July Oration from Massachusetts on Eve of the Civil War

[FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATION], Autograph Document, July 4, 1860, Hancock, MA. 14 pp., 8 x 10 in. Unknown author, ending by quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “O Ship of State.”

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Thus it is that though the subject of Slavery is constantly agitating the minds of the people, and their opinions are wholly at variance, yet there are many important elements which tend to bind them together. And we are all hoping for a time when these elements shall so combine as to form one universal sentiment with regard to Slavery. When the North shall not only use their voices, but their hearts and their money if necessary in behalf of the oppressed. When the South shall not only feel the injustice of their “peculiar institution” but shall see that interest alone requires them to unite in making this a truly free and independent nation.

Thou, too, sail on, O Ship of State! Sail on, O Union, strong and great! Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate!” (Longfellow)

Item #25176, $1,500

Autograph of Dr. Mary Walker, Female Civil War Surgeon and Medal of Honor Recipient

CIVIL WAR. SUFFRAGE. MARY EDWARDS WALKER, Autograph, n.d. 3½ x 1⅞ in. Card signed, “Mary E. Walker, M.D.

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Item #24896, $850

American Tract Society Appoint Teachers for Freedman’s School on the Grounds of Robert E. Lee’s Former Plantation at Arlington, Virginia

J. M. STEVENSON, Autograph Document Signed, [November 10, 1864]. “At a meeting of the Committee of the American Tract Society held Nov. 10th 1864 it was Resolved - that commissions be granted to Mrs. Flora M. Barning from Nov. 1st for 9 months and Miss Emily Wood & Miss Emily Stanwood from October 1st for ten months at $25 per month to assist Mr. H.E. Simmons in the Freemen's school, Greene Heights, Va...” 1 pp. Autograph Document Signed. Commission for Emily Wood “as an assistant to Mr. H. E. Simmons at Freedmen’s Village for ten months, from October first 1864....” November 10, 1864, Nassau St., New York. 1 pp. octavo.

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Item #22486, $475

Lincoln Endorses Petition from Border State Unionists

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed as President, ca. December 1864, on a manuscript petition, with two endorsements from Brigadier General Solomon Meredith. 2 pp., 7 x 9⅛ in.

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President Lincoln endorses a manuscript petition from border-state Unionists seeking the establishment of a permanent military post at Hickman, Kentucky. “Submitted to the Sec. of War who is requested to see the bearer. A Lincoln.

Item #21191.99, $12,000

Trial of Abraham Lincoln by the Great Statesmen of the Republic, a Mock Trial of President Lincoln for Treason

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Pamphlet. Trial of Abraham Lincoln by the Great Statesmen of the Republic. A Council of the Past on the Tyranny of the Present. The Spirit of the Constitution on the Bench—Abraham Lincoln, Prisoner at the Bar, his own Counsel. New York: Office of the Metropolitan Record, 1863. Original printed wrappers, stitched. 29, [3] pp. First Edition.

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In this creative pamphlet, Lincoln stands trial before a jury of his “peers,” former presidents and statesmen from American history, including Stephen A. Douglas, Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, John Hancock, Patrick Henry, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, John C. Calhoun, James Madison, George Mason, Elbridge Gerry, Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and William Gaston. The author compiles passages from their speeches in mock dialogue with the defendant Lincoln as they contradict his defenses against their charges.

Item #23743, $980
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