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Civil War and Reconstruction

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A Middle-Aged Private in the 140th New York ‘Rochester Race Horses’ Writes His Wife

ERASTUS U. POLLAY, Autograph Letter Signed, to Julia A. Pollay, May 31, 1863, Falmouth, VA, 2 pp, 8vo., one slight fold cut (text not affected), otherwise fine condition.

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I have bin Down to the River this Morning and had A good wash and my Body is Clan Enough to sleep with a Woman but that Cant be So I must be Content untill I get out of this War and then I will see you About that

Item #21265.12, $250

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

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

A Union Officer’s Commission, and Field Report from
the 17th Connecticut Regiment at the Battle of Gettysburg

[CIVIL WAR – GETTYSBURG], Allen G. Brady, Autograph Manuscript, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 4, 1863. 6 pp., in pencil, an unsigned draft or retained copy.

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A field report from the Battle of Gettysburg by Major Allen G. Brady, commander of the 17th Connecticut Regiment, written on the 4th of July, 1863, the day after the battle ended in a great victory for the Union.

“We had not more than time to form before the enemy were discovered advancing rapidly upon us on our right & a full Brigade obliquely towards our left….our fire was so destructive it checked their advance the troops on our left giving way the enemy came in behind us but we still remained firmly at the stone wall until the rebels were driven back.”

Item #21808, $7,500

A Fighting Vermont Regiment Summary of Actions after Gettysburg, July 5-13, 1863

ADDISON W. PRESTON, Autograph Document, c. July to October 1863, 2 pp., 8 x 12¼ in.

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Item #23879.01, $1,250

Quartermaster of New York Regiment Anticipates the Assault on Fort Wagner; Mentions the 54th Massachusetts

[CIVIL WAR]. CHARLES E. WALBRIDGE, Autograph Letter Signed, to “George,” July 17, 1863, Folly Island, South Carolina. 5 pp., 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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I cannot but think constantly of the approaching battle tomorrow; just think if we get Charleston! Vicksburg is fallen, Richmond at our last accounts was seriously threatened, Lee was in chancery up in Maryland, and now if we can only take this accursed city.

Item #24474, $2,250

Planning Civil War Slave Patrols

MILLEDGE L. BONHAM, Autograph Endorsement Signed twice as Governor of South Carolina, to G.T. Beauregard. August 12, 1863. 2 pp. On verso of J.C. McKewn. Autograph Document Signed. [likely Charleston, S.C.], [ca. August 1, 1863]. 1 p.

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McKewn tabulates a list of 15 men headed “Patrol,” men previously tabbed to participate in the “slave patrols” used to round-up runaway slaves. Only four men appear to be qualified and prepared for duty. At bottom McKewn inquires of the Governor if some others can be required to do duty. Bonham forwards the letter to General Beauregard.

Item #21840, $1,900

South Carolina Impressment Agent Negotiates With General Beauregard for the Release of Slaves to their Masters

WILLIAM SHANNON, Autograph Letter Signed, to General Thomas Jordan. Charleston, August 17, 1863, 2 pp. With: newspaper advertisement, entitled: “Labor For Coast Defences,” a public letter from Governor M.L. Bonham, August 19, 1863, 1 p.

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Shannon, a militia colonel and state agent for the impressment of slave labor, requests the discharge of a number of slaves impressed for labor on military fortifications in Charleston, from the chief of staff of General Beauregard. Local planters depended on Shannon to force the state governor and the Confederate army to abide by the terms of the legislation granting the power to impress slave labor, in this case for a month’s time. A rare document concerning the joint effort between the Confederate government and the local planters to use slave labor for military fortifications. I am officially identified with the success of a scheme which I have labored earnestly to make efficient, outside of that motive no man can be more deeply interested than I am in the success of the defence of Charleston, but I feel constrained from a sense of duty to ask the discharge of those Negroes furnished under the call for the 15th July, who have worked over thirty days and which are relieved by the supply rendered in the past few days. The motive prompting this direct application is that I am informed by the Engineer Department that the Negroes could not be discharged…

Item #21799, $2,000

New York Soldier Reports on Fort Sumter before It Was Taken

ABRAM BOGART, Autograph Letter Signed, to a “friend,” South Carolina, October 10, 1863, 4 pp. 8vo.

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I am quite lame with the kidney complaint but not bad enough to fetch me home yet for they wont let a man go home as long as he can go and then they had rather he would die here for they die here every day....if you have got any friends that talk of coming tell him to join the masons or odfellows or some other d n d disorder and stay at home

Item #21265.06, $375

Gettysburg Doctor Returns to Civilian Practice after Helping in Army Hospitals

[BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG]. HENRY JANES, Medical Director. Autograph Document Signed, releasing Dr. Robert Horner from further service at the expiration of his contract. Camp Letterman, near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, October 24, 1863, 1 p. 8 x 10 in.

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“A. Asst Surg. Robt Horner is hereby relieved from duty at this place on account of the expiration of his contract…”

During the course of the Civil War, 5,532 doctors served for short terms in military hospitals after battles, typically at the rate of $100 per month for at least three months. Following the Battle of Gettysburg, Camp Letterman became the largest field hospital ever built in North America. By August 1863, all temporary field hospitals were closed, but Camp Letterman remained, with over 3,000 patients. Approximately 1,200 men were initially buried on site at Camp Letterman. It closed in November 1863, when the last remaining patients left.

Item #23817, $850

Patriotic Poem by Gov. John A. Andrew

JOHN A. ANDREW, GOVERNOR, Autograph Manuscript Signed. Boston, Massachusetts, November, 1863. 1p., 7¾ x 9⅞ in.

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Item #20068, $380

The Gettysburg Address – November 20, 1863 Rare First Day Printing by “Lincoln’s Dog” John Forney in the Philadelphia Press

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, Newspaper, Philadelphia Press, Philadelphia, November 20, 1863. Complete, 4 pp., approx. 20¼ x 28 in.

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The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract…

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is on page 2, along with Edward Everett’s entire speech, and a report on the ceremonies. Printed in an important newspaper owned by John Forney, this version is in some ways more accurate than the more widely spread Associated Press report.

Item #25971, $6,000

New York Times Carriers’ Address Reviews the Year 1863 in Bad Verse, Including Freeing of Russia’s Serfs, and the Battle of Gettysburg

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside, “Carriers’ Address / New York Times / To Our Patrons.” New York: Dodge and Grattan, [ca. January 1] 1864. 1 p., 15½ x 21½ in. Intricate borders and patriotic imagery.

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For in this struggle vast The liberties of man shall rise or fall, And unborn generations to us call… The laborer on England’s soil, The peasants that in Austria toil, The serfs, that over Russia’s plains Are dropping now their long worn chains…”

On or around New Year’s Day, some newspapers printed “carriers' addresses” with an appeal for a holiday gift or donation from subscribers. Newspaper carriers were often the printer’s apprentices, sometimes younger than teenagers.

Item #25040, $1,350

Period Oil Portrait of William H. Seward Wonderfully Executed

[WILLIAM H. SEWARD], Oil Bust Portrait of Secretary of State William H. Seward, ca. 1864. Oil on board, 11 x 14 in. oval; framed to 17 x 20 in.

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Item #25611, $12,500

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

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

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

Treasury Secretary Salmon Chase
Insists on Proper Funding for Soldiers

SALMON PORTLAND CHASE, Autograph [draft] Letter Signed “S.P. Chase” as Secretary of the Treasury, to Sen. William P. Fessenden, no date [ca. January 1864], 7¾ x 9¾ in., 6 pp.

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Important letter to the chair of the Senate Finance Committee on how to pay for new conscripts and volunteers following Lincoln’s call for an additional 300,000 troops. Chase’s final version went to Fessenden on 11 January 1864. Fessenden’s “infernal tax bill” was introduced in May. After more than 300 amendments, it passed in June only one vote shy of unanimity.

Item #22307, $5,500

Hand-Made Union Patriotic and Religious Song Book

[CIVIL WAR], Manuscript Pen and Ink Folk Art Song Book, ca. 1864. 24 pp., 6⅝ x 8 in.

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This hand-sewn booklet contains eight songs popular during the Civil War era, with music and lyrics in calligraphy. Songs include “On a Green Grassy Noll” by J. D. Canning, with music by Ira Odell; “The Old Mountain Tree” by James G. Clark; “Harmonian Waltz”; “Year of Jubilee, or Kingdom has Come!”; “Squire Jones’s Daughter”; “The Sweet Birds Are Singing”; “Lament of the Irish Emigrant”; and “Soon and For Ever,” by J. B. Monsell. The last page of the booklet is dated February 21, 1864.

Item #24826, $4,500

Unique Sea Mosses Book Sold at the New York Metropolitan Fair to Benefit Sick and Wounded Union Troops

[CIVIL WAR]. ANNA BIGELOW, Autograph Manuscript Signed unique calligraphy book with illustrations, pressed sea weeds, and hand lettered four lines of verse titled ‘Sea Weeds.’ New York, N.Y, 1864. 7½ x 10½ on 60-plus pages with 31 moss examples interleaved.

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“call us not weeds, we are flowers of the Sea.”

Item #24170, $1,750
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