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Lincoln Endorses Petition from Border State Unionists
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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.

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.

Inventory #21191.99       Price: $12,000

Complete Transcript

            Hickman Ky Decr. 6th 1864

To the Honr. Abraham Lincoln.

President of the United States


            We after an interview with our mutual Friend Brig Genl Meredith, commanding the Western district of Kentucky, have concluded to commission and empower our friend and fellow citizen Parson N.N. Cowgill to represent our interest before your august presence!

            We are suffering from the invatian of the Enemy upon us every day, and have no power to repell them, we ask of you to instruct our commander, Brig Genl Meredith, to make a permanant military post at this place,

            We don’t ask it for our protection exclusively, but for the great benefit it will be to the Federal Army; We have a district of Country composing some 6 or 8 counties, (in area) about two hundred miles! It being varied in its products, offers every inducement to the Federal government to have it protected, and let all of its resources be brought forward to [2] sustain our army. Our worthey and truly Union friend Parson N.N. Cowgill can give you a correct topography of our place and country. We would ask of you to extend our most appreciable Commander’s district to the Hatchie River as this point is the natural outlet for all the cotton and tobacco raised in that section of the Country!

            We trust in Divine Providence you may be awakened to our great necessities, and grant us the humble request we have made of you!

                                                Very Respectfully yours.

                                                Many Citizens of Loyalty

[on verso in hand of Solomon Meredith:] I strongly recomend that a military post may be established at Hickman Ky. by the Secy of War. S Meredith Brig. Genl.

Head Qrs Dist of Westn Ky Paducah Ky. Dec 9th 1864

I am personally acquainted with Parson NN Cowgill and know him to be an honest patriotic and loyal man. The petition of which he is the bearer asking that Hickman be made a permanent military post I would most earnestly recommend to be granted knowing as I do that it will be of great benefit to the Union cause in this state. The Citizens of Hickman and Fulton Co gave a decided majority for the Union ticker at the late election which gives them a very powerful argument, if not a claim, for the protection of the government they serve. The government will be benefitted equally with the citizens by adopting the course proposed and the benefit both receive will be so much taken from the enemy who now occupy in little squads of guerrillas the whole country in that vicinity and run off every thing of value to their army which the can lay hands on. S Meridith Brig Genl.

[on verso in hand of President Lincoln:] Submitted to the / Sec. of War who is / requested to see the / bearer. / A Lincoln

Historical Background

Border-state loyalists implore President Lincoln to establish a permanent military post at Hickman. Because of daily raids by rebel forces, which the Unionists have no power to repel, the citizens of Hickman file their request with the endorsement of General Solomon Meredith, commander of the District of Western Kentucky, based in Paducah. Meredith, who had led the “Iron Brigade,” was transferred to a desk command because of a bad shrapnel wound suffered at Gettysburg.

The town of Hickman is located in extreme southwestern Kentucky, near the Mississippi River. Though Unionist in orientation, it was a center of cotton cultivation. Even after the Confederate Army of Tennessee, commanded by Braxton Bragg, retreated from Kentucky in October, 1862, the state was beset by guerrilla warfare for the remainder of the conflict. There were famous raids conducted by Confederate cavalrymen John Hunt Morgan and Nathan Bedford Forrest. President Lincoln declared martial law in August 1864, suspending the writ of habeas corpus to empower Union commanders such as Meredith unilaterally to arrest Confederate spies, sympathizers and bandits.

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