Historical Civil War Autographs


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Presidents & First Ladies

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51 Items.  Showing Items 1 thru 20.
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ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY (1767-1848)

# 6078

Sixth U.S. President - 1825-29

U.S. Congressman John Quincy Adams submits information relating to the loss of a Seminole War troop transport in Tampa Bay, Florida

Autograph Letter Signed, 7 ½” x 9”, to “James Collier Esqr., Cohassett, Mass[achuse]tts,” with excellent early-Florida, Seminole War association.

As Congressman from Massachusetts, the former U.S. President informs Collier that he has submitted a report to Secretary of War Joel Poinsett regarding payment for the services of the schooner Rubicon in the rescue of the transport Charles Wharton, lost while carrying U.S. troops bound for service in the Second Seminole War. Congressional records state: “the ship Charles Wharton was chartered by the United States for the purpose of transporting nearly three hundred volunteer troops, with arms, provisions, baggage, and a quantity of sauer kraut from Philadelphia to Tampa Bay. While on the voyage, and so laden, about the 20th of December [1837], she grounded on a shoal near the entrance of Tampa Bay, and was found in a very perilous condition…” The same record further indicates that the crew of at least one other vessel, “…at great risk, and with much labor, aided and assisted in saving the troops, the guns, ammunition, and private property of the officers.”

Washington, 24 Feb[ruar]y 1838. Sir, I have submitted your Letter of the 6th inst[an]t to the consideration of the Secretary of War, and have received an answer from him enclosing a report from the acting Quartermaster General T[rueman] Cross of the following report: ‘In reply to the Letter of Mr. James Collier referred to me by the War Department a few days since I have the honour to state that this office possesses no information whatever in relation to the loss of the ship Charles Wharton or the services alleged to have been rendered by the Schooner Rubicon. It appears however, by Mr. Colliers own admission, that the Quarter Master at Tampa Bay, paid the Captain of the Rubicon six hundred dollars, which it is a fair presumption was the value of his services.’ The fair presumptions of the Quarter-Master General may doubtless be rebutted by positive testimony. If you have any such, I shall be happy to give any assistance in my power to exhibit the same before the proper department. I am, very respectfully, Sir, your obed[ien]t Serv[an]t, J.Q. Adams.”

Interestingly, Adams’s nephew, Thomas Boylston Adams, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and a Seminole War veteran, had died of disease at Fort Dade, Florida just two months earlier, on December 14, 1837. Also of note, Trueman Cross, the acting quartermaster general mentioned in this letter, was killed on April 21, 1846 by Mexican bandits near Fort Brown, Texas, just three days before the United States declared war with Mexico.

The sheet bears general soiling and wear.  Paper weakness and minor separation at the usual folds, along with several chips and tears in the margins, none affecting the text of the letter, have been professionally stabilized with archival backing on the reverse.


ADAMS, LOUISA C. (1775-1852)

# 6783

U.S. First Lady – 1825-29

Autograph Letter Signed, 8” x 10”, with a seldom-seen second form of her signature, “Wife of John Quincy Adams,” added at the conclusion. Graciously writing to the wife of the politically connected Benjamin Ogle Tayloe, the former first lady sends an engraving for Mrs. Tayloe’s collection.

Quincy [Massachusetts], 28th Oct[o]ber, 1842. Herewith I have the pleasure my Dear Madam to send you the promised engraving to be placed so flatteringly in your elegant Collection of Autographs, where I shall have the gratification of shining, at least through a reflected light, among the brilliant luminaries who so greatly adorn your Book. In the hope of soon meeting you and Mr. Tayloe in Washington; permit me to offer the sentiment of regard of Louisa Catherine Adams. Wife of John Quincy Adams.”

Although the engraving mentioned is no longer present, this letter is accompanied by a 3 ¼” x 6 ¼” address panel, also addressed by Mrs. Adams, to “Mrs. B.O. Tayloe, Washington.”

The letter has a few light water stains and small edge tears, detracting very little from excellent overall condition.


BUCHANAN, JAMES (1791-1868)

# 6667

Fifteenth U.S. President - 1857-61

Autograph Letter Signed, 8” x 10”, as U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, to “Samuel C. Patterson, Esq.”  Writing from his hometown in Pennsylvania, Buchanan recommends one Robert King for a position as an official for the 1840 census.  In an interesting four-line postscript, Buchanan further reveals that King had been passed over for superintendent of the Columbia & Philadelphia Railroad, completed in 1834 as the first government-built rail line, in favor of a Mr. Cameron, probably a member of the politically connected family which included future War Secretary Simon Cameron.

Lancaster, 19 September 1839. Dear Sir, There is a very respectable man, by name Robert King Esquire, a citizen of Marietta in this County who is desirous of obtaining the appointment to take the census for the townships of Manor, East & West Hempfield, Raphoe, Mountjoy & East & West Donegal.  He has met with reverses of fortune in his day & is now obliged to work hard at his trade for his living; but there is no man in the town where he lives who maintains a better character.  He is an acting magistrate & a man of business & is an active & efficient friend of the present State & National administrations.  I believe his appointment would give general satisfaction whilst it would be peculiarly agreeable to your friend sincerely, James Buchanan.  P.S. Mr. King was powerfully recommended as superintendent of the Columbia & Philadelphia Rail Road; but Mr. Cameron was appointed.  I consider that his appointment to take the census, whilst it would be an excellent one in itself would be highly politic.”

The letter is lightly and evenly toned, with a few edge chips and tears.  Paper weakness at one of three horizontal folds has been reinforced on the reverse, and there is show-through of old hinging on the reverse in the upper and lower margins.



# 6605

U.S. First Lady – 1886-89 & 1893-97

Signed Photograph, 4 ¼” x 6”, as First Lady, “M.W.J. – from - Frances F. Cleveland, 1894,” a cabinet photo imprinted Copyright by C.M. Bell on the lower edge of the image.

The image is unaffected by minor wear and chipping to the edges of the mount.


COOLIDGE, CALVIN (1872-1933)

# 7659

Thirtieth U.S. President - 1923-29; U.S. Vice President – 1921-23; Governor of Massachusetts – 1919-21

Document Signed, 3” x 8 ½”, Northampton, Massachusetts, March 29, 1929, “Calvin Coolidge,” a partly printed check, also accomplished by Coolidge less than a month after leaving office as U.S. President, drawn on The Hampshire County Trust Co. and made payable to one Mary Ahearn for thirty dollars.

The check is in very good condition, with minor smudging of ink to several letters, a small tear in the upper margin, and a few light vertical folds. The hole-punch cancellation at center affects an insignificant part of the beginning of Coolidge’s signature.

Price: $495.00

COOLIDGE, CALVIN (1872-1933)

# 7657

Thirtieth U.S. President - 1923-29; U.S. Vice President – 1921-23; Governor of Massachusetts – 1919-21

Vice President Coolidge Thanks a Jounalist from The Nation

Typed Letter Signed, 7” x 9”. Writing on imprinted official stationery, U.S. Vice President Coolidge thanks Marian Tyler, a journalist with The Nation, a liberal weekly magazine first published in 1865, for her letter.

“THE VICE-PRESIDENT’S CHAMBER, WASHINGTON, February 2, 1922. Miss Marian Tyler, The Nation, 20 Vesey Street, New York, N.Y. My dear Miss Tyler: Please accept my thanks for your letter and enclosure. It is always interesting to see the discussion that goes on in the public press. Very sincerely yours, Calvin Coolidge.
The letter is lightly toned and soiled, with a horizontal fold at the center.

Price: $425.00

COOLIDGE, CALVIN (1872-1933)

# 7656

Thirtieth U.S. President - 1923-29; U.S. Vice President – 1921-23; Governor of Massachusetts – 1919-21

The Vice President-Elect Thanks a Supporter – Just Two Days after the 1920 Election

Typed Letter Signed, 7 ¼” x 9 ½”, on imprinted stationery as Massachusetts Governor.  During the second year of his short tenure as governor - just two days after election to U.S. vice president on the Warren G. Harding ticket - Coolidge thanks “Mr. Ernest M. Hortmann, Boston, Mass.,” for a letter.

“EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, STATE HOUSE, BOSTON. 4th November, 1920…My dear Mr. Hortmann: It was exceedingly thoughtful of you to send me such a gracious message. I want to thank you for your kind wishes which I assure you I reciprocate. Cordially yours, Calvin Coolidge.
The letter is lightly and evenly toned, with two horizontal folds and a pinhole along the bottom edge.

Price: $350.00

COOLIDGE, GRACE (1879-1957)

# 7831

U.S. First Lady - 1923-29

World War II Dated Signed Envelope – August 5, 1944

Signed Envelope, 3 ½” x 6 ½”, “Grace Coolidge,” a franking signature, with the typewritten address, “Chilson’s Shops, 34 Center Street, Northampton, Massachusetts,” and bearing a Williamsburg, Massachusetts, August 5, 1944 postmark.

The envelope is lightly and evenly toned, with a few superficial stains, and there is light wear and minor separation at the edges. The postmark intersects Mrs. Coolidge’s signature, which remains a fine example that can be dated to World War II.



# 6602

First Lady of the Confederacy

DAVIS, VARINA ANNE (1864-1898)  Daughter of Jefferson & Varina Davis; Known as the “Daughter of the Confederacy”

Signed Album Page, 4” x 7”, “Varina Jefferson Davis.,” also signed and dated by the Davis’s daughter, Winnie, at their Mississippi home, “Varina Anne Davis, Beauvoir, Miss., Nov 5th 1893,” with the collector’s biographical notations in the lower margin.

Overall condition is excellent, with light, even toning.



# 6464

Thirteenth U.S. President - 1850-53

Autograph Letter Signed, 5” x 8”, an excellent example with a full signature.

Washington, July 18. J. Streum, Esq. D[ea]r Sir, I have yours of the 4th and I enclose a general letter as I have not time to write more. Truly yours, Millard Fillmore.”

The year is unstated, but the handwriting is consistent with Fillmore’s letters from his 1849 to 1853 tenure as Vice President and President. Although we can’t be sure, it is conceivable that Fillmore’s haste in this correspondence was associated with his becoming President just days after the unexpected death of Zachary Taylor on July 9, 1850.

The overall condition is excellent, with very light, even toning and two horizontal folds.



# 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


# 7652

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

Document Signed, 8 ¼” x 10 ¼”, as U.S. President, a partly printed “affix the seal” document.

“I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of State to affix the Seal of the United States to the remission of the remaining portion of the term of imprisonment, imposed upon Jacob Rowles, convicted of petit larceny; dated this day, and signed by me; and for so doing this shall be his warrant. Millard Fillmore, Washington, October 3, 1850.”
The document bears light soiling and wear, and there are a few edge chips and tears, along with weakness and minor paper separation at the edges of two horizontal folds.

Price: $850.00

GARFIELD, JAMES A. (1831-81)

# 6684

Twentieth U.S. President – 1881; Union Major General - Ohio

Signed Photograph, 2 ¼” x 4”, “J.A. Garfield, Ohio,a Brady carte-de-visite.

There is light soiling and wear, and the upper corners of the card have been trimmed diagonally. The ornate back-mark has been marred by past mounting.


GARFIELD, JAMES A. (1831-81) Twentieth U.S. President – 1881; Union Civil War Major General – Ohio; U.S Representative – Ohio – 1863-80

# 8305

Franking Signature, “J.A. Garfield, M[ember] C[ongress],” on a House of Representatives imprinted 3” x 4 ¾” envelope front; addressed in an unknown hand, to “John Butler, Esq[uire], Damascoville, Mahoning Co[unty], Ohio,” and bearing a Washington, D.C. postmark. 

General soiling and wear, with several edge chips and tears, one barely passing through the conclusion of the signature; mounting traces on the reverse.


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.


GRANT, ULYSSES S. (1822-85)

# 7148

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

Signed Card, 2 ¼” x 3 ½”, “U.S. Grant.”

The card is lightly and evenly toned, with a barely noticeable one-eighth inch tear at the right edge and old mounting remnants on the reverse.


GRANT, ULYSSES S. (1822-85) 18th U.S. President - 1869-77; Union Lieutenant General during the American Civil War; Acting U.S. Secretary of War – 1867-68; Commander in Chief of the U.S. Army – 1864-69

# 8308

Civil War-Date Signature, “U.S. Grant, Maj[or] G[e]n[eral],” on a lightly toned 1” x 3 ¾” slip of paper; from the reverse of a military telegram and also dated by Grant, “Nov[ember] 1st [18]63.”



# 6680

Ninth U.S. President - 1841

Document Signed, 2 ¼” x 4 ½”, a manuscript note as aide-de-camp to General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, requesting a supply of paper from the quartermaster.

“Sir, be pleased to Issue one Quire Paper for the use of the publick. Wm. H. Harrison, Comm[an]d[i]n[g]. The Quartermaster, 7th Oct. 1796.”

The note bears light soiling and wear, along with a few small stains.



# 6859

Nineteenth U.S. President - 1877-81; Union Brigadier General - Ohio

Signature, with date and sentiment, “…1st Sept[ember] 1867. Sincerely, R.B. Hayes,” on a 5” x 5 ½” sheet of lined paper, for “Wm. A. Baker, Auburn, N.Y.

The sheet is lightly and evenly toned, with minor show-through from old glue staining on the reverse, and there are two horizontal folds.



# 7554

Nineteenth U.S. President - 1877-81; Union Brigadier General - Ohio

Signed Card, 2 ¼” x 3 ¾”, with a desirable full signature, “Rutherford B. Hayes.” On the reverse is the notation “2-28-[18]91, R.B. Hayes,” presumably in the hand of the collector who obtained the autograph.

The card is lightly and evenly toned, and there are old mounting remnants on the reverse.

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