Historical Civil War Autographs


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War-Date Autographs, Documents & Letters

50 Items.  Showing Items 1 thru 20.
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# 6940

U.S. Postmaster General - 1861-64; Brother of Francis P. Blair, Jr.; Mayor of St. Louis – 1842-43; Counsel for Dred Scott before the U.S. Supreme Court

War-Date Signed Envelope, 3 ¼” x 6”, free-franked as U.S. Postmaster General under President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, “M. Blair, P.M.G.” The envelope is also addressed by Blair, to “Col[onel] F.A. Dick, St. Louis, Mo.,” and is postmarked “Washington, D.C., May 8, 1863.”

The envelope is lightly toned, with minor wear and a few superficial tears at the edges, along with several small stains.



# 6808

Union Brigadier General – Massachusetts

While leading the 10th Massachusetts under McClellan on the Peninsula, Briggs was severely wounded in both thighs at Seven Pines. He briefly returned to active service, to command a brigade in the Middle Department and a division in the Army of the Potomac.

Briggs Writes to His Wife After “the late bloody battle of Gettysburg.”

War-Date Autograph Letter Signed, four pages, on a 5” x 8” letter-sheet, signed “your Husband,” incorporating his signature into his wife’s address, “Mrs. H.S. Briggs, Pittsfield, Mass[achusetts],” at the conclusion. Assigned to lead an Eighth Corps brigade in the Army of the Potomac, Briggs relates the rigors sustained by the troops in his command. Many of them were Massachusetts Volunteers approaching the end of their nine-month terms of service – diverted and quick-marched to guard Union-held territory near Harpers Ferry during the retreat of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia after “the late bloody battle of Gettysburg.”

“In camp near Hamilton or ‘Harmony Church,’ Loudon Co[unty], V[irgini]a, Sunday Evening, July 19, 1863.

Dear Molly,

I have been thinking ever since we got into camp about 11 o’clock this forenoon that I must write; but it has been so hot and I have been so sleepy that I have not got to it till now (past 9 o’c[lock] eve) and that is time to turn in for…as early as 4 o’c[lock] in the morning to march.

This has been the hottest day we have had, and the men could hardly have endured a long march. We left camp near Waterford this morning at about 7 o’c[lock] and halted here as I said a little before 11 o’c[lock]. We are bivouacked in a fine wood, the first shade of any account we have had in our encampment. I last wrote you at camp near Buckittsville on Thursday I believe (or Friday, it is very difficult for me to keep the days of the week). We were ordered to march from there at 4 o’c[lock] yesterday morning but didn’t get off till about 6, then marched to Waterford which we reached about 2 o’c[lock] and had plenty of time to get into camp and rest before night. We crossed the Potomac yesterday morning by a pontoon bridge about 8 o’c[lock] at Berlin, where we left the 46[th] Mass[achusetts] Col[onel] [William S.] Shurtleff to go home its time having nearly expired. That leaves me with only the 8th [Massachusetts] whose time expires on the 30th inst[ant] and the 39th [Massachusetts] about a thousand men in all; But that is a large Brigade in this Corps so reduced has it become by the casualties of a long term, the most ever of all which was the late bloody battle of Gettysburg. A Vermont Brig[age] left the Div[ision] yesterday also nine month troops.

Which way we go from here I know nothing of nor what is going on about us. It was supposed this morning that we were going to Leesburg [Virginia] from which we were about 7 miles to the north. We are now about the same distance west, and about mid-way between or opposite Gregors and Snickers Gaps in the Blue Ridge. I keep remarkably well altho[ugh] we all feel our broken sleep. Our orders to march almost invariably come after midnight here since there is not much sleep for us after that.

Dear Molly I have thought a great deal of you all to day, both on the march and since arrival in camp. I can think of you with better heart than when I first joined this army a week ago tho[ugh] not less tenderly and graciously. I am not so homesick and have come to accept my position as a necessity and duty. I am not altogether agreeably situated here; but I am content for the present in the belief that there will be some change soon as my command will be broken up by the departure of the 8th [Massachusetts] a week hence.

It is now a fortnight since the date of your and George’s last letter. I do not allow myself to be anxious about you, trusting the Father of Mercies and of us all to keep you. Our mails are not often sent, since I suppose it is hardly known at Washington what my address is. I shall hope now to hear from you after the receipt of my letter from Funkstown dated a week ago tomorrow.

Our mail boy was sent to H[ea]d Qu[arter]s tonight but returned with the message that probably there would be no mail sent for two or three days.

I must turn in. So good night with lots of love to all. Affectionately your Husband. Mrs. H.S. Briggs, Pittsfield, Mass[achusetts].”

Overall condition is excellent, with the usual light toning and two horizontal folds.



# 6960

Union Major General – Massachusetts; Republican U.S. Congressman – Massachusetts – 1867-75 & 1877-79; U.S. Presidential Candidate – Greenback Party - 1884

Known as “Beast Butler” for his harsh treatment of civilians in New Orleans, Butler had, ironically, nominated Jefferson Davis for the presidency on the 1860 Democratic ticket.

War-Date Signature, “Yours truly, Benj. F. Butler, Maj. Genl. Com[manding],” on a 2 ½” x 4 ¾” slip of paper.

Lightly and evenly toned, with a horizontal fold, along with minor bleeding of ink in portions of Butler’s rank.


CAMPBELL, JOHN A. (1811-89)

# 7544

Confederate Assistant Secretary of War; U.S. Supreme Court Justice – 1853-61

War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed

Civil War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed, “A[djutant] G[eneral] For attention. By order of Sec[retar]y of War, J.A. Campbell, A[ssistant] S[ecretary] [of] W[ar], 23 June [18]63,” on a 1 ¾” x 3” slip of paper, removed from a Confederate document.



# 7036

Union Brigadier General – Maine; Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for Gettysburg

As colonel of the 20th Maine, Chamberlain gallantly defended Little Round Top, preventing a Confederate victory at Gettysburg.

Civil War-Date Signature, a seldom-seen example with sentiment and the rank Chamberlain held from June 18, 1864 through the end of the war, on a 1 ¾” x 5” slip of lined paper. Chamberlain was brevetted major general of volunteers on March 29, 1865.

“Very respectfully, Your ob[e]d[ien]t Serv[an]t, J.L. Chamberlain, Brig. Genl. Com[man]d[in]g.”

The slip is lightly toned, with some show-through of old glue staining on the reverse, and there is a small hole above the “Com” in Chamberlain’s rank; illustrated against a black background for added clarity.


CHASE, SALMON P. (1808-73)

# 7045

U.S. Treasury Secretary - 1861-64; U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice - 1864-73

As Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary, Chase was instrumental in the efforts to finance the war and was responsible for the issue and acceptance of paper money as legal tender. Continued rivalry and strife with Lincoln precipitated his appointment to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by the death of Roger B. Taney in 1864.

War-Date Signature, with closing and title in another hand, “S.P. Chase,” on a 1 ½” x 4” slip of paper, removed from a letter as U.S. Treasury Secretary, the position Chase held from March 4, 1861 through December 6, 1864; with the pencil notation, “1862” in the lower margin.


DAVIDSON, HENRY B. (1831-99)

# 7520

Confederate Brigadier General – Tennessee

A Mexican War veteran and West Point graduate, Davidson served at Ft. Donelson, and was captured by Union forces under John Pope at Island No. 10. Subsequently exchanged, he led a brigade in Joseph Wheeler’s Confederate Cavalry during the Chattanooga campaign, and held a late-war cavalry command under Jubal Early.

War-Date Signature

Civil War-Date Signature, with closing and rank also in Davidson’s hand “I have the honor to be Very Respectfully, Your Ob[edien]t S[er]v[an]t, H.B. Davidson, Col[onel] Com[man]d[in]g,” on a 2” x 3 ½” slip of paper, removed from a letter. 


DEVIN, THOMAS C. (1822-78)

# 6963

Union Brigadier General – New York

Born in New York City to immigrant Irish parents, Devin served as colonel of the 6th New York Cavalry from the unit’s formation in late 1861 through the battles of Antietam and Fredericksburg. He led a cavalry brigade under Union General John Buford in the first day’s fighting at Gettysburg, and subsequently saw action in Kilpatrick’s raid on Richmond and with Sheridan in the Shenandoah.

War-Date Endorsement Signed, on a 2 ¼” x 3 ½” slip of paper, removed from a larger document.

“Head Q[uar]t[e]rs, 2nd Brig[ade] 1st Cav[alry] Division, Oct. 23, 1863. Approved & Respectfully forwarded. Thos. C. Devin, Col[onel] Com[man]d[in]g Brig[ade].”



# 7028

Union Major General  – New York

A West Point graduate and Mexican War veteran, Doubleday was garrisoned in Charleston Harbor when the Civil War began with the bombardment of Ft. Sumter by forces under Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard. He subsequently saw action at Second Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg, where he assumed command of the First Corps upon the death of John Reynolds. Doubleday has since been popularly credited with inventing baseball.

Civil War-Date Autograph Letter Signed, on a lightly toned sheet, trimmed to 5” x 6”. Near the conclusion of the war’s third year, Doubleday sends this handwritten letter for the collection of noted autograph collector William H. Fry. Accompanying records indicate that Fry’s collection, this piece included as Lot #580, was sold by Davis & Harvey, a Philadelphia auction company, on June 7 & 8, 1907.

“Washington, D.C., Dec[ember] 13, 1863. Sir, I enclose my autograph as requested. A. Doubleday, Major Genl. Vol[unteers]. To Wm. H. Fry, Esq., Harrisburg, P[ennsylvani]a.”

There are two horizontal folds, and a small hole near the right edge affects one letter of text.



# 7653

Thirteenth U.S. President - 1850-53; U.S. Vice President 1849-50

Civil War-Date Autograph Letter Signed

War-Date Autograph Letter Signed, 4 ¼” x 5”, responding to an autograph request from “J.P. Story, Esq[uire], St. Louis.”

“Buffalo, [New York], March 25, 1865. Sir, I cheerfully comply with your request for my autograph, and am, Truly yours, Millard Fillmore.”

The letter is lightly toned, with two horizontal folds and old glue staining on the reverse.

Price: $595.00

FRY, BIRKETT D. (1822-91)

# 6826

Confederate Brigadier General – Alabama

A Mexican War veteran who had attended both Virginia Military Institute and West Point, Fry led the 13th Alabama at Seven Pines, Sharpsburg, and Chancellorsville. After recovering from wounds received in all three battles, Fry participated in Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg, where he was again wounded and captured. He was exchanged and returned to service before the siege of Petersburg and commanded a district in Georgia, headquartered at Augusta.

War-Date Document Signed, 8” x 13”, Augusta, Georgia, October 12, 1864, “B.D. Fry, Brig[adier] Gen[eral] Commanding Post,a partly printed clothing requisition for soldiers confined in the hospital there. Of the eight Confederates listed, two of the four from Florida regiments were wounded at the battle of Chickamauga, a third at Atlanta. Most notably, Fourth Florida Infantry Private James Herndon, wounded at Chickamauga, was later captured and confined at Camp Chase, Ohio, where he died of disease on April 4, 1865.

There are three vertical folds and several small holes in the center and in the upper margin, none affecting the text of the document.



# 6996

American Journalist & Abolitionist; Founder of the Abolitionist Newspaper, “The Liberator”

Civil War-Date Autograph Quotation Signed, voicing the abolitionist sentiment for which Garrison was widely known, on a 2 ½” x 5” portion of an album page.

“Yours, for universal freedom, Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Boston, May 20, 1862.”

Garrison’s long-held, oft-stated dream of “immediate and complete emancipation of all slaves” was very soon advanced two-fold, as the bill abolishing slavery in the territories was signed into law on June 19 and, more significantly, President Lincoln read the first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation to the Cabinet on July 22, 1862.

Barely discernible damp-staining to the left one-third, along with a few small stains, detract very little.


GARROTT, ISHAM W. (1816-63)

# 7536

Confederate Brigadier General - Alabama

A North Carolina native, Garrott moved to Alabama in 1840, serving two terms in the state legislature. When the Civil War broke out, he recruited and was named colonel of the 20th Alabama Infantry. Garrott saw action with the unit at Port Gibson and Vicksburg, where he was killed-in-action in the city’s defenses on June 17, 1863.

War-Date Endorsement Signed

Civil War-Date Endorsement Signed, on a 1 ¼” x 3 ¼” slip of paper, removed from a larger document.

“Approved & respectfully forwarded, I.W. Garrott, Col[onel] 20th Reg[imen]t Al[abam]a Vol[unteer]s.

The paper bears general soiling and wear, and there are old mounting remnants on the reverse.


GATES, ELIJAH (1827-1915)

# 6989

Confederate Colonel – 1st Missouri Cavalry; U.S. Marshal – Western District of Missouri; Missouri State Treasurer-1877-81

A Kentucky native and Buchanan County, Missouri resident, Gates led the 1st Missouri Cavalry under Sterling Price, later Confederate Generals Bowen, Forney, and French. He had four horses shot from under him during the war, being captured three times and wounded five times, losing an arm at the Battle of Franklin. After the war, Gates returned to Missouri, serving as Buchanan County Sheriff, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Missouri, and State Treasurer.

War-Date Signed Card, 2” x 3 ¼”, as 1st Missouri Cavalry Commander, “Elijah Gates, Col. Commanding 1st Mo. Cavalry C.S.A.”

The card is lightly and evenly toned, with a few small stains.


GATES, THEODORE B. (1825-1911)

# 7231

Union Brevet Brigadier General; Union Lieutenant Colonel – 20th New York State Militia; Union Colonel – 80th New York Infantry

War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed, on a 2 ¼” x 3 ¼” slip of paper, removed from a larger document. “H[ea]d Q[uarte]rs 20th N.Y. S[tate] M[ilitia], Brookes Station, Va., May 11, 1863. Respectfully forwarded & cordially recommended, Theodore B. Gates, Col[onel] Com[man]d[in]g.”


GEARY, JOHN W. (1819-1873)

# 7022

Union Brigadier General – Pennsylvania; First Mayor of San Francisco, California – 1850-51; Governor of Kansas Territory – 1856-57; Governor of Pennsylvania – 1867-73

A veteran of the Mexican War, Geary began the Civil War as Colonel of the 28th Pennsylvania Infantry. He was twice wounded at Cedar Mountain, commanded the 2nd Division of the 12th Corps at Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, and subsequently saw action at Chattanooga. After the war, Geary served two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania.

War-Date Signature, with rank, “Jno. W. Geary, Brig. Genl. Com[man]d[in]g,” on a 1 ¼” x 4” slip of paper, removed from a larger document or letter.

Lightly and evenly toned, with a few small stains, along with old glue staining on the reverse.


GIBSON, RANDALL L. (1832-92)

# 6823

Confederate Brigadier General – Louisiana; U.S. Senator – Louisiana – 1883-92

As colonel, Gibson led the 13th Louisiana Infantry at Shiloh, in the Kentucky campaign, and at Chickamauga. Subsequently promoted to brigadier general, he served with distinction at Atlanta, during Hood's late-war invasion of Tennessee, and in the defense of Spanish Fort, Alabama. An attorney by profession, Gibson served as U.S. Congressman, Regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and president of the board of administrators for Tulane University after the war.

Rounding up Deserters from the 13th Louisiana for the Battles of Franklin and Nashville

War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed, on the reverse of a letter, 8” x 10”, directing 13th Louisiana Captain James Lingan to Jackson, Mississippi to apprehend “absentees and deserters” from the regiment. The officer to whom Captain Lingan is ordered to report, Major Michael O. Tracey, was severely wounded at the battle of Murfreesboro on December 31, 1862, requiring the amputation of his right leg.

“H[ea]d Q[uarte]rs Gibson’s Brigade, Florence, Ala[bama], Nov[ember] 10th 1864. Captain James Lingan will proceed to Mobile or to any other point than Jackson at which he may ascertain Major Tracy to be stationed. R.L. Gibson, Brig. Genl.”
The field order to which Gibson is responding, desirably imprinted from the Army of Tennessee Headquarters of Commanding General John B. Hood, through Confederate Lieutenant General Stephen D. Lee, in full:

“Head-Quarters Army of Tennessee. In the Field, November 9th 1864. Field Special Orders No. 144…The following named Officers of Gibson’s Brigade are detailed for Sixty (60) days, and will report to Major M.O. Tracy, 13th La. Regt., at Jackson, Miss. for the purpose of collecting all absentees and deserters from Gibson’s Brigade. Captain James Lingan, Co. B., Austin’s Battalion. By Command of General Hood, Jas. Cooper, Capt. & A.A.A.G.”

Forced from Atlanta by Union General William Tecumseh Sherman two months earlier, Hood’s Army of Tennessee had by late October 1864 moved into northern Alabama, capturing Florence and positioning itself to strike at Nashville. Aware of his desperate situation, Hood attempts in this order to gather all remaining men available for the upcoming offensive. Just three weeks later, Hood’s army was nearly destroyed at the battle of Franklin, where Generals Cleburne, Gist, Adams, Strahl, Carter, and Granbury were killed or mortally wounded.

Several junior officers and adjutants have further endorsed the document, and there are three official stamps from the Quartermasters Department in Selma, Alabama at mid-left. There is general soiling and wear throughout, and crude archival tape reinforcement of two folds on the letter side, opposite Gibson’s endorsement, could easily be repaired by a professional conservator.

Price: $1600.00

GILMER, JEREMY F. (1818-83)

# 7552

Confederate Major General – North Carolina

A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Gilmer was wounded at the battle of Shiloh while serving as chief engineer to Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, who was killed in the first day’s fighting. Afterward, he served as chief engineer in the Department of Northern Virginia and of the Confederate War Department.

War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed

Civil War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed, “Returned disapp[rove]d. J.F. Gilmer, Maj. Genl,” on a 2 ½” x 3 ½” slip of paper, removed from a larger Confederate document. Above Gilmer’s endorsement is the initialed notation of Confederate War Secretary James Seddon, “Not accepted. J.S.S. 22 Sep[tember] [18]64.”

The paper has general soiling and wear, and it has been tipped to a slightly larger sheet.

Price: $950.00


# 7513

Confederate Brigadier General – Alabama

After early-war service with the 3rd, 11th, and 43rd Alabama Infantries, Gracie saw action in the Kentucky campaign and at Chickamauga. Transferred east, he served under Beauregard in the May 1864 James River campaigns and in the trenches at Petersburg, where he was killed by an exploding artillery shell on December 2, 1864.

War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed

Civil War-Date Autograph Endorsement Signed, 1 ¼” x 3”, removed from a larger document dealing with deceased Confederate soldiers (from text on the reverse).

“Approved, A. Gracie, Jr., Brig[adier] Gen[era]l.”

There is old glue staining on the reverse, and the slip of paper has been clipped diagonally at the left and right edges.

Price: $1750.00

GRANT, ULYSSES S. (1822-85)

# 7027

18th U.S. President - 1869-77; Union Lieutenant General

From Vicksburg, Grant Exerts His Authority Over the Mississippi, in an Incident with the Steamer Empress – Later Burned by Nathan Bedford Forrest

War-Date Autograph Letter Signed, 1 ½ pages, front and reverse of the first leaf of a folded 5” x 8” letter-sheet, to a United States Treasury agent identified only as “Mr. Montrose.”

From his headquarters in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the Confederate river stronghold having fallen to Federal forces under Grant just three months earlier, the Union commander informs Agent Montrose of the improper seizure of a cotton-laden steamer on the river by the U.S. Navy. As unhindered shipping on the Mississippi had resumed after the mid-summer fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, Montrose is further instructed to provide passes for use by Union vessels as additional protection against future seizures in violation of orders already issued by Grant.

“H[ea]d Q[uarte]rs Dep[artmen]t of the Ten[nessee], Vicksburg, Miss[issippi], Oct[ober] 6th 1863. Mr. Montrose, Ag[en]t Treas[ury] Dept. Sir, The gentlemen with Gen[eral] Stewart, the bearer of this, have all shipped Cotton on the Steamer Empress, from Natchez, Miss[issippi] in conformity with Gen[eral] Orders No. 57, current series and were stopped at the mouth of the Red river by the Navy. I have written to the Naval Commander at that place, enclosing a copy of the order referred to and presume with this the Empress will be permitted to pass. However for further security I have to request that you issue Treasury passes in addition to the Authority already granted. Yours truly, U.S. Grant, Maj[or] Gen[eral].”
Three passages from the Official Records, communications between the U.S. Navy vessels involved, provide further details of the controversy, in part:

“U.S.S. Choctaw, Off Mouth of Red River, October 4, 1863. Sir: This morning the steamer Empress came down from Natchez, having on board about 2,800 bales of cotton, taken on board by permission of Brigadier-General M.M. Crocker, commanding U.S. forces at Natchez…Never having received orders to pass cotton shipped by permission of army officers, and the proclamation of the President of March 31, 1863, and the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the same date not permitting any such trade, I ordered the captain of the Empress to return to Natchez with the cotton, and gave him a letter to General Crocker, a copy of which I enclose. I was informed by the captain of the Empress that these permits were given by General Grant…Frank M. Ramsay, Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding Third District.”

“U.S.S. Benton, Off Natchez, October 9, 1863…I was informed by my executive officer that he had forwarded a letter from General Grant to Captain Ramsay, a copy of which I send, in which the general was willing to assume the responsibility in the premises and referred to an order from the Treasury Department of September 15, 1863, which caused him to issue his General Order No. 57, which I send enclosed…Jas. A. Greer, Lieutenant-Commander, Comdg. 4th Dist., Miss. Squadron.”

“U.S.S. Choctaw, Off Mouth of Red River, November 8, 1863. Captain Couthouy told them that you commanded the Mississippi River; that General Grant was absolute on shore, but that he did not control so much of the water of the Mississippi as would be sufficient for him to wash his face in; that this was no question between military and naval authority, but simply whether the officers in command of gunboats should obey your orders and those of the Secretary of the Navy or those of General Grant…A person calling himself General David Stewart (who, I was informed in Natchez, is supposed to be a cotton speculator) took it upon himself to spread a number of reports, and was the principal speaker among the passengers on the Empress…Frank M. Ramsay, Lieutenant-Commander, Comdg. 3rd Dist., Miss. Squadron.”

While Navy officers were still embroiled in the controversy back on the Mississippi, Grant was en route to Chattanooga just two weeks after the date of this letter to Agent Montrose, in command of the new Military Division of the Mississippi, setting the stage for the battles of Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Missionary Ridge. Interestingly, it was later reported that the Empress was burned by Confederate cavalry forces under Nathan Bedford Forrest at Island #34 on October 28, 1864.

There is light, even toning, with the usual folds, several small stains, and somewhat heavier soiling and wear to the docketed fourth page of the letter-sheet. Slight trimming of the margins, perhaps inadvertent when the envelope in which the letter was delivered was opened, affects several letters of text in the last line of the first page and in the first word of the second.

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