Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ebay's Lincoln

I like to check the auction sites for Lincoln-related items. Though I have never bid on a Lincoln document or a period piece, I like to know what is out there. Ebay is one of the sites I monitor.

I thought it would be fun to pass along interesting items for your viewing pleasure. Recently, I learned how to create "widgets" like the one pictured above. It is an easy way to relay the information. You can see a very brief item description, the highest bid, as well as a countdown to the end of the auction. If you click the green bar that says "View & Bid," it will take you directly to the auction page where you will be able to read more about the item, view pictures, and place a bid if you so desire.

The item (pictured above) that caught my attention this week appears to be a letter of recommendation written by Lincoln on Executive Mansion stationary. According to my eyes, the letter reads as follows:

Executive Mansion,

Washington, Sep. 24, 1862

Major General Halleck,


Capt Thadeus P. Mott of the 19th Infantry, is now at New York as a mustering officer - I remember seeing him once or twice last year, and hearing him always represented as a superior artillery officer. His friends wish him to have a battery; and I wish think the question is worth considering -

Yours truly

A. Lincoln

The letter does not appear in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. However, according to the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, a soldier named Thaddeus P. Mott did indeed serve in the Union ranks. While Lincoln identified the soldier as a member of the 9th Infantry, the database identifies Captain Mott as a member of the 3rd Independent Battery, New York Light Artillery.

The date of the letter is very interesting. The Battle of Antietam occured just seven days earlier, while the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was issued just two days before the president wrote this letter of recommendation.

According to the Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology, Wednesday, September 24, 1862 was a very busy day for the president:

Special cabinet meeting considers expediency of treaties regarding voluntary colonization of Negroes and proper answer to treaty complaints of Cherokees. Official Records—Armies, 490-91.

President proclaims that "all Rebels and Insurgents" and their abettors guilty of any disloyal practice are subject to martial law, and all such persons arrested are deprived of benefits of writ of habeas corpus. Proclamation Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus, 24 September 1862, CW, 5:436-37.

Prepares letter of introduction for Hon. Edward Everett, orator, statesman, and former senator from Massachusetts. "While I commend him to the consideration of those, whom he may meet, I am quite conscious that he could better introduce me than I him, in Europe." Abraham Lincoln to Whom It May Concern, 24 September 1862, CW, 5:437-38.

Large crowd with band and speeches serenades President in honor of Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln says: "What I did, I did after very full deliberation, and under a very heavy and solemn sense of responsibility. I can only trust in God I have made no mistake." Washington Star, 24 September 1862; Randall, Lincoln, 3:12; Reply to Serenade in Honor of Emancipation Proclamation, 24 September 1862, CW, 5:438-39.

Disclaimer: Please understand that by highlighting an auction, I am in no way vouching for the authenticity of any item. Authentication is a process that requires much more than simply seeing a picture, reading the item description, and gathering information that is freely available online. Before placing a bid, I strongly encourage you to find out as much about the item, as well as the seller, as possible.

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