DescriptionAbraham Lincoln Autograph Endorsement Signed "A. Lincoln" as president. One sheet (both sides), 8" x 9.75", [Washington, D.C.] September 6, 1861. President Lincoln endorses Absalom H. Markland of Kentucky for an appointment as a paymaster. The recto reads in full:
"I know Mr. Markland personally and well, and concur most cordially in the opinion and request of Mr. Dunlop and others. [signed] Allan A. Burton."
On the verso, President Lincoln has written in full:
"The within brief note of Judge Burton shows that Absalom H. Markland is a worthy man. I believe I have before endorsed a letter sent to the Department for him as a Paymaster. As a Kentucky appointment, I think it would be a good one. [signed] A. Lincoln."
The recto has been reinforced with rice tissue. Tears have resulted in paper loss in the lower right corner and along the right edge, though no text is loss. Lincoln's text and signature are bold and clear. Toned paper with minor soiling.
Colonel Markland, a native of Kentucky, was a personal friend to Ulysses Grant. The two had met in their early teens as classmates at Maysville Seminary in Kentucky. While Grant began a career in the U.S. military, Markland studied law and migrated to Washington, D.C., in 1849 and became a government official in the Office of Indian Affairs.
At the start of the Civil War, the paymaster department had a reputation for being inefficient. Paymaster positions such as the one Markland was requesting were political appointments which Edwin Stanton's War Department quickly filled with men besides Markland. Though overlooked here, Markland was later appointed a special agent in the Post Office Department where his initial assignment was to investigate the loyalty of postmasters to the Union. General Grant, however, soon assigned him charge of mail delivery for his Army of the Tennessee. At Grant's urging, Markland transformed the slow, inefficient mail delivery to Grant's troops into a prompt, efficient service that consequently helped improve morale. Markland was given the honorary rank of colonel and served under Grant for most of the war, often carrying letters and messages between President Lincoln and generals. Lots 34242 through 34253 are regarding Colonel's Markland service during and after the war.
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