Civil War-Date Autograph Note Signed – on a Request for a Lieutenant’s Promotion – Just Two Months Before He was Mortally Wounded at Cedar Creek.
LINCOLN, ABRAHAM (1809-65) Sixteenth U.S. President - 1861-65
Civil War-Date Autograph Note Signed, as President on a 5” x 8” sheet of Executive Mansion stationery, beneath a request from F.H. Baldwin for the promotion of his brother, a lieutenant in the 5th U.S. Artillery.
“The above, written by a very good man, is submitted to the Secretary of War. A. Lincoln.”
Noted as a resident of Allentown, Pennsylvania in the accompanying National Archives records, Mr. Baldwin was undoubtedly a caller at the Executive Mansion, and was directed to write his request, hoping that President Lincoln would approve and advance it through the proper channels. His letter, accomplished in pencil, in full:
“Aug. 12th 1864. To His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President of the U.S. I desire the transfer or promotion of my brother, Lt. Henry M. Baldwin, Battery M, 5th Reg[imen]t U.S. Artillery, to any vacancy in the Regt. which you may decide it possible to place him, consistent with the good of the service. Very Resp[ectfull]y, F.H. Baldwin.”
There is no record of Lieutenant Baldwin’s promotion or transfer before he was severely wounded through the chest and left arm on October 19, 1864 – just two months later - at the Battle of Cedar Creek. He died on November 8, 1864 at Sheridan Hospital, near Winchester, Virginia.
The letter is in excellent condition, with creases from two vertical folds.
Autograph Letter Signed – Returning the Remains of a Young Lieutenant Who Died in Texas to His Father in Pennsylvania.
LEE, ROBERT E. (1807-70) Confederate General & Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia
Autograph Letter Signed, 8” x 10”, to John Dick, a prominent Pennsylvania banker and businessman, later a U.S. Congressman from 1853 to 1859. While in command of his first fort, Camp Cooper, established in northern Texas to protect the frontier from hostile Indians, Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee resends information relating to the return of the remains of Dick’s son, 2nd Lieutenant George McGunnigle Dick, in light of the possible loss of his previous letter on the subject. That communication, Lee suspects, may have been carried aboard the steamer Louisiana, when it burned and sank in the harbor of Galveston, Texas on May 31, 1857.
“Hon[ora]ble John Dick, Meadville, P[ennsylvani]a. Camp in Clear fork of Brazos, 13 July 1857. Dear Sir, Having seen a statement in the papers that the letters that had reached Indianola from about the 20 to the 30 May had all been lost in the mails shipped aboard the Steamer Louisiana, & as my letter to you of the 6 May should have been at Indianola about that time, I have determined to send to you a Copy, that you might see why your letter of 10 Sept. ’56 had been so long unack[nowledge]d, should the original have been lost, & that I had given such attention to your inquiries as I was able. I hope my letter of the 19th May reached you safely, & that you will have rec[eive]d w[ith] this the remains of your Son, forw[arde]d at that time to the Messrs. Thorps, who were also written to. I made arrangements for their shipment from Indianola, & have heard of their safe passage through San Antonio. With Sentiments of esteem & respect I am very resp[ectfull]y your Ob[edien]t Serv[an]t, R.E. Lee.”
During a forty-day expedition which scouted the headwaters of the Colorado, Brazos, and Wichita rivers, begun in early June, 1856, the four cavalry squadrons in Lee’s command had several encounters with hostile Comanche Indians. The available records indicate that Lieutenant Dick died at Camp Cooper on July 31, 1856 - just eight days after Lee’s return. It is unknown if he died of wounds received during the expedition, or due to an illness or an injury that occurred at the notoriously harsh Camp Cooper.
The letter is in excellent condition, with slight discoloration along portions of the usual folds and superficial paper breaks at their intersections.