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Civil War and Reconstruction

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“MEN OF COLOR: To Arms! To Arms!”

Frederick Douglass, Broadside. “Men of Color / To Arms! To Arms!” U.S. Steam-Power Book and Job Printing Establishment, Ledger Buildings, Third and Chestnut Streets, Philadelphia, PA, [1863.] Signed in type by Frederick Douglass and 54 others, including many prominent African-American citizens. 44 x 87 in. Framed to 48 x 94 in.

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A monumental Frederick Douglass Civil War recruiting broadside.

African American men had joined Union forces throughout the Civil War, but it took Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863 to officially allow and encourage them to enlist. This monumental Philadelphia recruiting poster signals the seismic shift in policy.

The text of this dramatic poster was adapted from an impassioned editorial Frederick Douglass wrote in the March of 1863 issue of Douglass’ Monthly. “There is no time to delay… The tide is at its flood … From East to West, from North to South, the sky is written all over, ‘Now or never.’”

Item #22552, $280,000

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, $39,500

President Lincoln Seeks Appointment to Naval Academy for His Wife’s Young Cousin

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Letter Signed, to Gideon Welles, August 21, 1863, Washington, D.C. 1 p., 4⅞ x 8 in.

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Item #25970, $17,500

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

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

Confederate Secretary of War Judah Benjamin Puts Promotion Controversy to Rest and Keeps General Braxton Bragg in “hateful inaction on the sands of Pensacola harbor”

JUDAH P. BENJAMIN. [CIVIL WAR], Autograph Letter Signed as acting Secretary of War, to Braxton Bragg. Richmond, Va., October 6, 1861. 4 pp., 7¾ x 10 in. On War Department letterhead.

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Writing as acting Confederate Secretary of War, Judah P. Benjamin denies Major General Braxton Bragg the possibility of a transfer to a more active post. Instead, Benjamin gives Bragg additional responsibilities, including defending Alabama. Bragg must have become tired of inaction, as three days after Benjamin wrote this letter, Bragg ordered the Confederate assault on Fort Pickens at the Battle of Santa Rosa Island.

Item #23285, $12,500

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

William T. Sherman’s Special Field Orders No. 15 –
40 Acres to Newly Freed Families

WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Printed Document, Unsigned. Special Field Orders, No. 15. January 16, 1865. Headquarters, Military Division of the Mississippi: Savannah. 2 pp. 5 x 8 in. With a closely related document:

JOHN G. FOSTER. Printed Document, Signed by William L.M. Burger as Assistant Adjutant General to Major General Foster. General Order No. 8, Affirming and Implementing Sherman’s Special Order No. 15. January 25, 1865. Hilton Head, S.C. 1 p. 5 x 8 in.

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Note: to be delivered after exhibit completion, National Constitution Center, Civil War & Reconstruction.

With General John Foster’s Implementation Order, Signed by AAG of First Regiment, New York Engineers, Who Saw Extensive Action during the War. Although the order does not actually mention mules, Sherman later ordered that the army could lend mules to the new settlers, providing the origin of the common phrase, “40 acres and a mule.” In one development arranged by General Foster, the Freedmen’s Colony of Roanoke Island, 2200 freedmen had settled on household plots. The families who settled these lands were devastated when, soon after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson revoked Sherman’s orders, stripping the emancipated slaves of their homes and in many cases their only source of income. When the Army abandoned the colony under Johnson’s presidency, most of the freedmen had to return to the mainland in search of work.

Item #24378.01-.02, $10,000

Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy Orders the Harriet Lane to Proceed to Charleston – Where It Would Fire the First Naval Shot of the Civil War

GIDEON WELLES, Autograph Letter Signed, Navy Department, Washington, April 5, 1861, to John Faunce, commander of the Revenue Cutter USS Harriet Lane. At the start of the Civil War, Welles orders the Harriet Lane to Charleston. With multiple emendations, possibly a retained draft. 1 p., 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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“The Harriet Lane under your command having been detached from the Collection District of New York & assigned to duty under the Navy Department You are hereby instructed to proceed to within ten miles due east from, and off Charleston…”

By April 1861, federal troops at Fort Sumter in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, were running out of supplies. President Abraham Lincoln authorized a relief expedition, including ships with supplies and five hundred soldiers, escorted by four Navy steamers, including the former revenue cutter Harriet Lane. On April 11, the appointed arrival day, she became the first U.S. Naval ship to fire a shot at the beginning of the Civil War.

Item #24791, $9,500

William T. Sherman Talks Politics, Religion, and Princeton-Yale Football with a Suitor

WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, Five Autograph Letters Signed to Mrs. Mary Audenried, widow of Sherman’s former Chief of Staff. 18 pages, April 21, 1885 – February 8, 1887.

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“Rachel went to Princeton last week. Thanksgiving Day – to witness the ball play – the day was horrid and she has been under the weather ever since having taken cold.”

Sherman, during an alleged affair with a young widow, advises her on handling her teenage daughter: “Let her play her own game…Tell her to take her own way and you choose yours. If she becomes a nun she can do no harm and is dead to the world” while criticizing the power of the Catholic Church. He also muses about his own mortality, complains that he “shall not stay long” at his Senator-brother John’s home because “there is too much politics there to suit my taste,” and relates that his daughter caught a cold at the Yale-Princeton Thanksgiving Day football game.

Item #20856, $9,000

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

Spectacular NY Appeal for Patriotic Artillery Recruits at Start of Civil War

[CIVIL WAR], Artillery Recruitment Broadside, Fifth Regiment, U.S. Army, ca. 1861. 1 p., 22½ x 31 in.

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Printed by Ringwalt & Brown in Philadelphia, this recruitment poster sought men between ages 18 and 35 to enlist in twelve mounted batteries of light artillery. Touted as the “only Regiment of its kind in the service, and the last chance for those who wish to join the flying artillery,” the field officers “are men of experience in the Regular Army,” so enlistees could be certain of “doing the duty of Soldiers, under the command of Soldiers.”

Item #24672, $7,500

An Eloquent Farewell to His Troops from a Massachusetts General Who Marched to the Sea with Sherman and Fought in the Civil War’s Last Battle

WILLIAM COGSWELL. CIVIL WAR, Manuscript Document Signed. General Orders No. 14. [Farewell to the Army of Georgia], Near Washington, D.C., June 9, 1865. 1 p., 7¾ x 12 in.

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Brigadier General William Cogswell offers a dramatic farewell message to the troops under his command in the Army of Georgia. A Salem, Massachusetts lawyer, Cogswell turned his law office into a recruiting station after learning the 6th Massachusetts had been attacked in Baltimore. He was first in, last out, in his Civil War service: In 24 hours, he raised the first full company of the war (Company C, 2nd Massachusetts Volunteers) and his brigade fought in the final battle of the war in Bentonville, North Carolina. Despite his relative obscurity, Cogswell’s eloquence rivals the great farewell messages in military history.

Item #23320, $7,500

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

The Lincoln Assassination and Its Aftermath:
Read the Day-by-Day Coverage in New York Newspapers

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN], Archive of newspapers related to the assassination and the hunt for the conspirators. Approximately 450 pp. From 11-1/2 x 16-1/2 in. to 23 x 31 in. per issue, depending on the title; most 15-1/2 x 23 in.

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A remarkable archive of 54 issues of six different daily and weekly New York newspapers from the six weeks after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, with coverage of the assassination, the assassin, the funerals in New York and Springfield, and the hunt for the conspirators. Also includes one issue from July 1865 regarding the execution of the conspirators and one issue from February 1866 with coverage of a memorial service in Lincoln’s honor.

Item #30031.01, $6,500

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

1865 General Orders,
Including Many Regarding Lincoln’s Assassination

[CIVIL WAR - WAR DEPARTMENT], Book. Bound collection of separately printed General Orders from the Adjutant General’s office for 1865. Containing 168 of 175 consecutive orders, and a 94-page index at front. Bound for Major General William Scott Ketchum, with his name in gilt on the spine and his markings or wartime notes on numerous pages. 4¾ x 7 in.

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Item #22265, $5,550

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

Mary Lincoln’s Signed Copy of The Life of Marie Antoinette Queen of France

MARY LINCOLN, Signed Book. “Mary Lincoln. / 1878,” in her copy of Charles Duke Yonge, The Life of Marie Antoinette Queen of France, 2d rev. ed. (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1877), xvi, 432 pp., 8vo. bound in tooled purple cloth boards with titled spine. A carte-de-visite portrait of Mary Lincoln has been affixed to the front free endpaper.

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she bore her accumulated miseries with a serene resignation, an intrepid fortitude, a true heroism of soul, of which the history of the world does not afford a brighter example.

Item #24759, $5,000

Broadsheet of Lincoln’s 1862 State of the Union Message

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Broadsheet, “Sentinel Extra” [place unknown[1]], ca. December 2, 1862, 9⅛ x 24 in. 2 pp.

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We cannot escape history… In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free… We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth...

One month before signing the Emancipation Proclamation, the president proposes colonization and his plan for compensated emancipation, discusses foreign affairs, reports on progress of the Pacific Railroad, the war and finance. This rare “Sentinel Extra” broadsheet (apparently unrecorded in OCLC) has other news of the day on the verso, including a fantastic article quoting General Meagher’s reaction to the resignation of several officers after McClellan was removed.

Item #22179, $4,900
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