Historical Civil War Autographs


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War-Date Autographs, Documents & Letters

55 Items.  Showing Items 1 thru 20.
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# 6183


WELLS, HENRY (1805-78) President of the American Express Company – 1850-68

FARGO, WILLIAM G. (1818-81) President of the American Express Company – 1868-81; Mayor of Buffalo, New York – 1862-66

Document Signed, 8 ¼” x 12”, partly printed, November 2, 1864, New York, “Henry Wells, President, Wm. G. Fargo, Secretary,a stock certificate for three shares in the American Express Company, issued to “George Pease – of New York.” Countersigned by the company treasurer.

The document is lightly toned, with minor staining and three vertical folds. Cancellation stamps intersect but detract very little from the clarity of the signatures of Wells and Fargo.

Price: $1750.00


# 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.


CRITTENDEN, JOHN J. (1787-1863)

# 7774

U.S. Attorney General - 1841 & 1850-53; U.S. Congressman – Kentucky – 1861-63; U.S. Senator – Kentucky – 1817-19, 1835-48 & 1855-61; Governor of Kentucky – 1848-50; Veteran of the War of 1812

Civil War-Date Autograph Letter Signed, July 13, 1861
The lifelong Kentucky Congressman remains in Washington, D.C. during the early days of the War

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 ½” x 5 ¾”, penned across lined paper, as U.S. Senator from Kentucky.

In the presidential election of 1860, Crittenden had backed John Bell, the nominee of the newly formed Constitutional Union Party. Believing that the secession crisis could be averted, he submitted a package of resolutions and constitutional amendments that came to be known as the Crittenden Compromise. As the plan allowed the spread of slavery into the new territories, it was adamantly opposed by newly elected President Abraham Lincoln, and votes on the provisions were blocked by Republicans in the Senate. Crittenden continued to work for reunification and the suspension of hostilities even after war broke out. President Lincoln called a special session of Congress on July 1, 1861, and this seemingly routine request of two weeks later to settle his account for lodging is undoubtedly due to Crittenden’s desire to remain in closest proximity to his congressional colleagues in Washington, D.C. Two of Crittenden’s sons served as general officers during the Civil War: George B. Crittenden resigned his U.S. Army commission and joined the Confederate States Army; Thomas L. Crittenden rose to the rank of major general in the Union Army.

“Messrs. F. Tenney & Co. Necessity of frequent consultation with my colleagues in Congress will oblige me, for the brief period of the present session, to take boarding with them. Be pleased therefore to send my bill up to & including today. Very respectfully, J.J. Crittenden, Washington, Friday – 13th July 1861.”

The letter is lightly and evenly toned, with a few superficial stains.


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.


DOW, NEAL (1804-97)

# 7733

Union Brigadier General – Maine; Colonel of the 13th Maine Volunteer Infantry; Wounded and Captured during the Siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana on June 30, 1863, confined at Libby Prison, and subsequently exchanged for Confederate General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Son of Robert E. Lee; Mayor of Portland, Maine – 1851-52 & 1855-56; Candidate for U.S. President on the Prohibition Ticket – 1880

Civil War-Date Autograph Letter Signed

Sending a 6th N.Y. Infantry Corporal to Union General Nathaniel Banks for the Port Hudson Campaign

Autograph Letter Signed, 8” x 10”. From the Union encampment in New Orleans, Dow recommends 6th New York Corporal Charles E. Berger for return to his unit, under the command of General Nathaniel Banks, a month before Banks’ failed assault and subsequent siege to capture Port Hudson, Louisiana, the Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River. Berger survived the campaign and was mustered out in New York City on June 25, 1863.  Dow’s letter is accompanied by a clerically handwritten special order, imprinted “Department of the Gulf, HEAD QUARTERS, DISTRICT OF PENSACOLA,” February 3, 1863, relieving Private Berger from duty in Pensacola and directing his passage to New Orleans.

“Head Quarters, U.S. Forces at Carrolton, April 7, 1863. The bearer of this, Chas. E. Berger, of the 6th N.Y. Vol[unteer]s, has been a clerk in the office of the Reg[iment] A[ssistant] A[djutant] General nearly five months, and has shown himself to be very competent to the duties of the position. He leaves me now by order of Gen. Banks to join his Regiment, whose term of service is nearly expired. I commend him to the kind regards of all with whom he may come in contact. Neal Dow, Brig[adier] Gen[eral] Commanding.”

Both letters have light toning, soiling, and wear, with minor paper loss at the edges of the expected horizontal folds, portions of which have been reinforced with archival tape on the reverse.

Was: $375.00  SALE Price:  $295.00
List Price: $375.00


# 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
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