Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [Fort Sumter.] Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren Battle Orders Annotated and Signed "JA Dahlgren R. Adm." One page of a bifolium, 7.75" x 9.75", No place; October 26, 1863. A list of orders, regarding firing on Fort Sumter during the Union attack on Charleston Harbor and the surrounding forts. Signed by Dahlgren at the lower margin. The orders read as follows:

    "1. The Patapsco & Lehigh open with their Rifle Guns on Sumter, if the shore batteries are so engaged.
    2. They must not get under effective range from Moultrie; as I do not wish their efficiency for more important work impaired.
    3. This may keep them as far as 2000 yds. from Sumter
    4. Fire very deliberately and as accurately as possible."

    There are numerous other notations and docketing on the front and on verso. A short annotation on the left vertical margin has been made by Dahlgren in pencil, "Tomorrow morg if the conditions are favorable you will ask permission to open fire." It appears that the emendation of "& Lehigh" and the note written at the top margin in pencil, "Range mentioned by the admiral Cast Pinckney open to the left of Sumter and in three faths water" were written in other hands.

    These orders mark the beginning of what would be the continual bombardment on Fort Sumter, lasting from October 26 to December 5, 1863. Beginning in August 1863, the two ironclads Patapsco and Lehigh joined the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron near Charleston, South Carolina. For the next several months they, along with other vessels in the squadron, aided in the massive artillery assault on Fort Sumter and Sullivan's Island. By the end of the war, the once formidable fort had been reduced to ruins. From the Bret J. Formichi American Civil War Rarities Collection.

    Condition: Flattened folds, with creasing at the corners. A small amount of paper loss and separations at folds. Soiling at edges and lower half of document. There is an area of dampstaining at the bottom fold, which caused some of the ink to bleed. Further soiling and dampstaining on verso.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2019
    26th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 354

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $300,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $300,000 and $3,000,000, plus 12.5% of any amount over $3,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 October 21 Manuscripts Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search