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Civil War and Reconstruction

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Vermont Cavalrymen Want to Get the Most for their Reenlistments

ADDISON W. PRESTON, Autograph Letter Signed, to Senator Solomon Foot, December 17, 1863. 3 pp., 7¾ x 10 in.

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After the patriotic fervor of 1861 filled Union armies with volunteers, the United States struggled to fill and expand Union armies. In March 1863, Congress passed the Enrollment Act, establishing a national draft to provide manpower for the Union Army. Drafted men could hire substitutes or pay a commutation fee of $300, and both policies were controversial, leading to the slogan, “rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.”

On October 17, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for 300,000 additional volunteers for the Union army, divided by the War Department into quotas for each of the respective loyal states. If a state did not meet its quota by January 5, 1864, a draft would fill the remaining quota for each state. The quota for Vermont was 3,300 men, in addition to the requirements of the July 1863 draft not completely filled. Active recruiting furnished more than 3,700 men by the end of January 1864, and more than 1,000 veterans, like those in Preston’s cavalry regiment, reenlisted in the field. On March 14, 1864, President Lincoln called for 200,000 more volunteers.

Item #23879.05, $600

Recovering after the Kilpatrick-Dahlgren Raid

[HUGH JUDSON KILPATRICK], Manuscript Document Signed by Adjutant, to Lt. Col. Addison W. Preston, March 8, 1864. 2 pp., 7¾ x 9¾ in.

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On your way you will thoroughly scout the country on either side of your route, arresting all white citizens able to bear arms. You will make every effort to bring along with your command as many negrows as possible.

At the end of February 1864, Brigadier General H. Judson Kilpatrick launched a raid to rescue prisoners of war held in the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia. The raid turned into a disaster when Kilpatrick’s men were stopped northwest of the city and a supporting force of infantry under Colonel Ulric Dahlgren was routed by Confederates. Dahlgren was killed, and papers found on his body detailed plans to burn Richmond and assassinate Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Richmond newspapers published the papers, and the southern public called for the execution of Union prisoners. Kilpatrick escaped with some of his cavalry to join General Benjamin Butler’s Army of the James on the Virginia Peninsula, though he lost more than 1,300 men killed and taken prisoner.

Here, Kilpatrick orders Preston and the 1st Vermont Cavalry to move on West Point, Virginia, at the confluence where the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers form the York River. Kilpatrick was soon transferred to the Western Theater as part of General William T. Sherman’s army.

Item #23879.04, $375

Future Medal of Honor Winner and Boy General Orders the 1st Vermont Cavalry to Report

EDWARD W. WHITAKER, Autograph Letter Signed, to Lt. Col. Addison W. Preston, March 26, 1864. 1 p., 8 x 10 in.

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I am directed by the Commanding General to say that you will turn over your orders to the bearer and report in camp with your command so soon as relieved.

Item #23879.03, $375

Confederate Cavalry Commander Stuart’s Only Known Letter to Confederate Congress

J.E.B. STUART, Manuscript Letter Signed, to Muscoe Robert Hunter Garnett, April 16, 1863. 2 pp., 7¾ x 10 in.

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I understand from Brig. General W. H. F. Lee that you have signified a desire to aid in any legislation needed for the Cavalry service—if we would state succinctly what is wanted….

An Act providing for remuneration for Cavalry horses permanently disabled by… The extension of the law, authorizing military Courts to each Army Corps or Department, so as to include a Division of Cavalry attached to a grand army…A Veterinary Surgeon to each Brigade of Cavalry…

The amount of saving in horseflesh to the Confederacy by a competent Veterinary Surgeon to each Brigade would be incredible.

General J.E.B. Stuart sends a message to Confederate Congressman Muscoe R. H. Garnett with suggestions for legislation to improve the Confederate cavalry. General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, General Robert E. Lee’s second son, hand-delivered the letter, which articulates Stuart’s love of horses and commitment to the Confederate cavalry. This letter, purchased from the descendants of a Union soldier who had captured it during the Fall of Richmond in 1865, appears to be the only known J.E.B. Stuart letter addressed to the Confederate Congress in private hands.

Item #23856, $14,000

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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“AAsst 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

Connecticut Civil War Colonel Sketches Jacksonville, Florida Headquarters, Muses on the Fountain of Youth, Supports Freed Slaves Getting Land and Recognizes their Humanity

[CIVIL WAR]. WILLIAM H. NOBLE, Autograph Letter Signed, to his wife, [Jacksonville, Fla.], [April?] 8, 1864. 16 pp., 8 x 10 in., on 4 folding sheets stitched together.

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Just make up your mind that negro nature & human white nature are very near alike....

Every now & then it is proclaimed with great joy that Mr So & so, some northern nabob or speculator has purchased some rebel plantation & prepares to work the same. … It’s of more consequence locally & nationally, thus the negro should buy & toil as he surely will on his acre of land, than that princely men in Illinois should have inserted his loose change in a southern plantation.

Connecticut native William H. Noble, writing to his wife, responds to rumors of the fountain of youth, vilifies northerner plantation renters who continued the Southern system as new feudal barons, and calls for the redistribution of plantations to former slaves to ensure national stability. Jacksonville, Florida, was occupied and then abandoned by the Union four times. The result was a broken, skeletal city at the Civil War’s conclusion.

Noble reflects on how the African Americans’ freedom will change Southern and national life, and that regardless of race, he believed human nature was the same. Further, the former slaves needed an interest in and responsibility for their own advancement. Presaging Booker T. Washington, he thinks developing industry more important than carpetbaggers coming south offering education. With a detailed sketch of headquarters in Jacksonville, including tents, stables, and the brigade flagstaff.

Item #23878, $3,500

Membership Certificate to the Naval Library
and Institute for Lt. Cmdr. George Dewey

[GEORGE DEWEY], Printed Document. A lithographed membership certificate to the Naval Library and Institute. Signed by Charles Steedman, President, & witnessed twice by Oliver L. Fisher. Navy Yard, Boston, Mass October 15, 1871. 11½ x 16½ in.

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Item #22023.01, $750

“Copperheads Vigorously Prosecuting Peace: Is it the Peace YOU Want?”

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside, “Copperheads Vigorously Prosecuting Peace. Is it the Peace You Want?” c. March 1863. 1 p., 15½ x 23½ in.

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Read what they say…  Abraham Lincoln has usurped power, violated the Constitution, and put in peril the liberties of the people, but Jeff. Davis has not…. The South may make war on the North, but the North must not defend itself.... They have not a word to say in behalf of the Union, and our own imperiled liberties…

The Peace Democrats, or Copperheads, were a vocal minority of Northern Democrats who opposed the Civil War and the administration of President Abraham Lincoln, and were willing to recognize an independent Confederacy. This anti-Copperhead broadside, probably printed for the 1863 Connecticut gubernatorial, turns the resolutions of the February 1863 Hartford Convention against the Copperheads.

At top, a caricature shows Copperheads attacking Lady Liberty, who is holding a Union shield. First published in Harper’s Weekly on February 28, 1863, over the title, “The Copperhead Party.—In Favor of a Vigorous Prosecution of Peace!” this cartoon came to symbolize all those who opposed the Lincoln administration’s conduct of the war.

Item #23005, $2,750

Frederick Seward Asks Samuel Colt for Presentation Pistol Prices

FREDERICK W. SEWARD, Letter Signed, to Samuel Colt, Washington, D.C., October 28, 1861. 1 p.

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your best quality of ornamented revolvers…

President Abraham Lincoln often presented gifts to foreign heads of state or dignitaries, and Samuel Colt’s pistols were excellent examples of American ingenuity and craftsmanship.

Item #24247, $1,750

Franklin Buchanan Sends His Autograph – The First Commander of CSS Virginia and the Confederacy’s Only Full Admiral

FRANKLIN BUCHANAN, Autograph Letter Signed, to John Neafie, April 25, 1874. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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“The only public office I have held since the war was the Presidency of the Maryland Agricultural College which I resigned at the expiration of the first year…”

More than a decade after its destruction, the first commander of the CSS Virginia responds to a request for an autograph. On March 8, 1862, Captain Franklin Buchanan and the crew of the CSS Virginia gave the U.S. Navy its worst defeat to that point, and not eclipsed until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor nearly eighty years later. Wounded during the battle, Buchanan did not participate in the second day of the Battle of Hampton Roads, when the USS Monitor confronted the CSS Virginia in an hours-long battle of the ironclads.

Item #24006.03, $450

Union Soldier Watches the CSS Virginia Bait the Navy at Norfolk, and Describes Growing Confidence the Union Can Sink Her

[CSS VIRGINIA], Autograph Letter Signed. Union soldier’s eyewitness account of seeing the CSS Virginia (Merrimack), Camp Hamilton, Virginia, April 13, 1862. 4 pp., 8 x 10 in.

With: BATTLE OF HAMPTON ROADS. Print. Engraving of the battle, removed from Harper’s Weekly, March 22, 1862, pp. 184-85, 21 x 8 in. Modern color.

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we had but one object in view that was to prevent the Merrimac from running the blockade, which we reasoned she desired to do in order to visit Yorktown and play the old harry with our gunboats there. Directly opposite our hospital within a half mile lay the Nangatuck and on her left our iron gunboat which I heard called 5 different names [the Monitor]…We now have confidence in our ability to sink her if we could have her where we want… our commodore is determined not to attack her off Sewall’s point or about there, as there is not water enough to maneuver his large vessels as well as the risks of their getting aground…, she is certain to be sunk if she ever passes fortress Monroe.

One month after the Battle of Hampton Roads, in which the USS Monitor confronted the CSS Virginia in an hours-long battle of the ironclads, a Union soldier stationed near Fort Monroe details the CSS Virginia’s attempt to draw the Union navy into battle. The Virginia was finally trapped, and Confederates destroyed it to keep it out of Union hands, on May 11th.

Item #24006.01-.02, $3,750

Ulysses S. Grant Follows Up on African American Troops’ First Battle at Milliken’s Bend: “Drive the enemy from Richmond. Reinforce Mower all you can and send him to do it.”

ULYSSES S. GRANT, Autograph Note Signed, to Elias S. Dennis, June 13, 1863, 1 p. 7¾ x 2½ in.

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Grant was determined to take Vicksburg, and retaking the surrounding countryside in Mississippi and across the river in Louisiana were critical parts of his plan. Here, he moves around troops to further his design after an important showing by the USCT a few days earlier. In his Memoirs, Grant observed that “This was the first important engagement of the war in which colored troops were under fire,” and he praised their actions.

Item #24508, $4,000

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin From 1852 – Year of First Publication – Presented “in 1881 by Mrs. Ann Lewis, a colored friend, as her choice treasure.”

[HARRIET BEECHER STOWE], Book. Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly. Boston: John P Jewett & Company, and Cleveland, Ohio: Jewett, Proctor & Worthington, 1852. The first edition was issued in Boston by the same publisher earlier in the same year. Its immediate success is witnessed by an addition to the imprint above the publisher’s name: “Seventieth Thousand.” Two volumes, 312 and 322 pp. respectively, both inscribed, “The Crawford’s/ Ithaca/ New York/ Presented in 1881 by Mrs. Ann Lewis, a colored friend, as her choice treasure.” With later pencil inscription, “Given to Mr & Mrs E.M. Newton by Mrs Crawford/ Sept 16 1924.

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Item #24794, $2,200

General Meade’s Gettysburg Victory

GEORGE MEADE, Broadside, “Head Quarters Army of the Potomac,” Gettysburg, PA, printed on the field, July 4, 1863 [4:15 p.m.]. General Orders 68. 5½ x 6 in.

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While both armies still occupy the field, General Meade congratulates his soldiers on their “glorious” victory at Gettysburg. This is one of a handful of surviving battlefield copies of the victory message that infuriated Lincoln.

Item #23519, $22,500

Former President John Tyler Makes a Last Attempt for Peace in 1861 – Two Months Before He Voted for Virginia Secession

JOHN TYLER, Autograph Letter Signed, to James G. Berret, written from Brown’s Indian Queen Hotel (at the corner of 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, where twenty years earlier, he had taken the oath of office after the death of President William Henry Harrison), February 3, 1861. 1 p., 7¼ x 9¼ in.

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In January 1861, former president John Tyler issued a call for a “Peace Conference” to resolve sectional division and avert Civil War. Here, he writes to Washington D.C. Mayor James G. Berret to thank the City Council and the Willard brothers for providing the concert hall at the Willard Hotel for the meeting. The meeting convened on February 4, 1861 with 131 representatives from fourteen free and seven slave states attended, none from the deep south. Tyler made opening remarks to the audience that included six former cabinet members, nineteen ex-governors, fourteen former senators, fifty former representatives, and twelve state Supreme Court justices. But seven southern states had already seceded, and representatives were already meeting in Montgomery to form a new Confederacy.

Item #23993.01, $5,500

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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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

Confederate Flag Given by Infamous Spy Belle Boyd to a Union Officer

ELEVEN-STAR “FIRST NATIONAL” FLAG WITH SINGLE STAR “BONNIE BLUE” FIRST UNOFFICIAL CONFEDEDERATE FLAG VERSO, Belle Boyd, the “Siren of the Shenandoah,” gave the flag to Captain Frederic Sears Grand d’Hauteville on June 18, 1862, telling him that it was the flag she waived to urge on Confederate troops at the Battle of Front Royal a month earlier. D’Hauteville’s 25-page autograph manuscript war memoir, with his account of the gift of the flag quoted above, is included. (See below for complete transcript). With additional photographs and manuscripts. Homemade, perhaps even by Boyd or a family member, and used only briefly before being given to d’Hauteville, the flag has been perfectly preserved, retaining the short ribbons along its hoist and showing no tears, holes, fraying, loss, or staining. Over 5 x 3 feet.

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June 18. Reached Front Royal, & met there the famous & very handsome, rebel spy, Belle Boyd, who gave to me the rebel flag, waving which, she led the attack upon Kenly in May.

The “stars and bars” circular canton pattern with eleven-stars was used for First National flags from July 2, 1861, when Tennessee and North Carolina joined the Confederacy, until November 28, 1861, when stars were added for Missouri and Kentucky. The other side of this rare two-pattern configuration is a tribute to the “Bonnie blue flag that bears the single star,” the unofficial first Confederate flag.

Frederic d’Hauteville’s small autograph note has been loosely stitched to the flag: “Confederate flag. Taken by F.S.G dH. and given by him to E.S.F. in 1862(?). To be given to Freddie d’Hauteville when he is fifteen.” His first wife, Elizabeth Stuyvesant Fish, died in 1863. Freddy, his son by his second wife, was born in 1873, thus dating his note about the second gifting of the flag to between 1873 and 1888. The flag remained in his family, preserved in perfect condition, until 2015, when contents from their Swiss castle were sold, clearing the way for the property to be sold; it is now on the market for $60 million dollars.

Item #24356.99, $180,000

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

Fisk University Co-Founder John Ogden Asks Merriam Publishers if the Gift of a Pictorial Dictionary Was Meant for Him or the University

JOHN OGDEN, Autograph Letter Signed, to George and Charles Merriam. Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 18, 1869. 1 p., 8½ x 5¼ in. On Fisk University letterhead.

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In this brief note, Ogden thanks the famous Springfield, Massachusetts dictionary publishers the Merriams for a gift of a copy of their Pictorial Dictionary. Ogden references one “Mr. Gamble” as having stated that the volume was intended as a personal gift, but notes that the dictionary has “the name of our institution inscribed upon, or rather in it, from which I infer you intended it for the institution.” He then asks the Merriams to “decide the quarrel.”

Item #24172.01-.02, $550

“General Grants election has brought such actual Peace, that there is not a part of a peg even, to hang an excitement on”

WILLIAM TECUMSEH SHERMAN, Autograph Letter, to an unnamed general. Annapolis, Maryland, December 8, 1868. 2 pp., quarto. Sherman originally wrote this content as part of a longer letter; he marked this leaf “copy” and ends it with marks that show this section to be complete.

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Sherman turns down an invitation to a “Grand Reunion of the Western Armies at Chicago.”

Item #23562.02, $1,650
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