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Civil War and Reconstruction

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Abraham Lincoln Introduces Ulysses S. Grant’s Superintendent of Freed Slaves to the American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission

Abraham Lincoln, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Robert Dale Owen, July 22, 1863, Washington, D.C. On Executive Mansion stationery. 1 p., 5 x 8 in.

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“Mr John Eaton Jr. … having had charge of the freed-men … comes to me highly recommended by Gen. Grant, as you know, & also by Judge Swayne[1]of the U. S. Supreme Court.

On July 22, 1862, exactly a year before he wrote this letter, Lincoln read a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet, agreeing to Stanton’s advice to hold it back until the Union could claim a military victory. On September 22, after the Battle of Antietam, he issued a Preliminary Proclamation, stating that enslaved people in any areas still in rebellion would be freed, and that freed men would be welcomed into the armed forces of the United States. Once Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, Secretary of War Edward Stanton worked to create a federal system to support freed slaves, and allow them to most effectively support the Union.

Item #26470, $110,000

Rare Houston Texas Newspapers: the Juneteenth Order Freeing Slaves, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, and Much More

Juneteenth, Newspaper. Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph, July 19, 1865. Newspaper. Houston, TX: E. H. Cushing. 4 pp., folio. Partial loss of up to two lines at bottom, but not touching the full printing of the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Lincoln on January 1, 1863 (p3/c2) or Union General Gordon Granger’s June 19, 1865 order implementing it. With Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph, July 15, 1863, with belated printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued by Lincoln on September 22, 1862.

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The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of [personal]rights and rights of property, between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them, becomes that between employer and free laborer.

According to historian Henry Louis Gates, Juneteenth, first celebrated in 1866, initially was an “occasion for gathering lost family members” and “measuring progress against freedom.”[1] In 1980, Juneteenth became aholiday in Texas, the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition, through the efforts of legislator Al Edwards. Juneteenth is now aholiday in the District of Columbia and forty-seven states—all but Hawaii, North Dakota, and South Dakota.



[1]Henry Louis Gates, “What is Juneteenth?” June 17, 2013, The Root.

Item #26129, PRICE ON REQUEST

Announcing Frederick Douglass’ Vermont Fair Speech on the Assassination of Lincoln

[FREDERICK DOUGLASS], Handbill for Lecture on the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, [September 27, 1865, Rutland, Vermont.] 1 p., 5-3/8 x 5-7/8 in.

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Possibly unique handbill advertising “Town Hall Lecture By the Great Colored Orator, Fred. Douglass, This Evening. Subject: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.” On the first day of the county fair, September 27, 1865, Douglass spoke to a packed Rutland, Vermont, Town Hall.

Doors open at 7 o’clock, Lecture to commence at 8 o’clock. Admission 25 cents. Tickets for sale at the Herald Book Store or at the Door.

Item #26165, $26,000

Frederick Douglass Recruiting African American Soldiers

FREDERICK DOUGLASS, Broadside: “Men of Color, To Arms! Now or Never!” Philadelphia [ca Spring, 1863]. 1 p., 8 x 10 in. Subscribed in type by Douglass and fifty-four other African American leaders, including William Forten, Rev. William T. Catto, Rev. Stephen Smith, Rev. J. C. Gibbs, and many others.

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Are Freemen less brave than Slaves?

Item #26162, $25,000

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

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

Great Report on the Hunt for Lincoln’s Assassin and Claim for Reward by Irish War Hero

[LINCOLN ASSASSINATION], James Rowan O’Beirne, Autograph Document, Claim for Reward for Capture of John Wilkes Booth, David E. Herold, and George A. Atzerodt, December 27, 1865, Washington, D.C. 6 pp., 8 x 13 in. With Handwritten Clerical Copies of Appendices to the Claim, including items found in Atzerodt’s hotel room and statements by Patrick Brennan and U.S. Marshal Robert Murray regarding the importance of O’Beirne’s telegram to the captures. Each signed by Assistant Adjutant General Robert Williams. 5 pp., 8 x 12½ in.

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Item #26049, $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

The Gettysburg Address – New York Semi-Weekly Tribune First Day of Printing

[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. GETTYSBURG ADDRESS, New York Semi-Weekly Tribune, November 20, 1863. Newspaper. New York, N.Y.: Horace Greeley. 8 pp., 15½ x 20⅜ in.

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A rare first day of publication newspaper, with Lincoln’s timeless embodiment of American ideals prominently placed. From November 20, the day after the Address, this original issue starts with Edward Everett’s speech and a report on the ceremonies on page one, and includes Lincoln’s speech on the final page (making it possible to display both together).

Item #26142, $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

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, $6,500

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

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, $4,800

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, $4,800

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

1862 Civil War Bulletproof Vest Broadside

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside. “Good News to the Army.” Bartlett & Munn, Agents for Manufacturers. Newbern, N.C., April 17, 1862. 1 p., 9¾ x 6 ½ in.

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A remarkable broadside advertising the sale of bulletproof vests to Union forces in North Carolina in the wake of the occupation of much of coastal North Carolina by General Ambrose Burnside’s Expeditionary Force.

Item #21777, $4,500

“Separating the Loyal from the Disloyal”
in Reconstruction North Carolina

[CIVIL WAR], Archive of materials relating to the administering of loyalty oaths in North Carolina after the Civil War during presidential Reconstruction. 1865-1866.

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Item #21814, $4,500

Report of Attacks on Forts Walker and Beauregard

JUDAH P. BENJAMIN, Autograph Letter Signed as Confederate Secretary of War, to President Jefferson Davis, with Davis’s endorsement. Richmond, Va., December 30, 1861. 1 p., plus docket, 7⅝ x 8⅞ in.

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Benjamin sends his official reports on the attacks on Forts Walker and Beauregard to Jefferson Davis, to be communicated to the Confederate Congress.

Item #20084, $4,500

First Federal Occupation of Winchester Broadside

[CIVIL WAR], Broadside, signed in type by Colonel William D. Lewis, Winchester, Virginia, April 17, 1862, 1 p. 12½ x 11 in.

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Broadside describing the first occupation of Winchester, Virginia, during the Civil War.

Item #22128, $4,200
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