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    Lincoln urges Stanton to promote a New Jersey colonel

    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed on Executive Mansion Letterhead. One page, 4.75" x 8"; Washington; May 24, 1864. President Lincoln writes to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton with instructions to promote a New Jersey colonel - "the one having best testimonials" - to brigadier general. The text and signature bold and clear. The letter reads in full:

    "Dear Sir, If there be any one or more New-Jersey Colonels commanding Brigades, let the one having best testimonials be nominated for a Brigadier General, if it can, or be soon as it can be, consistently done. Yours truly [signed] A. Lincoln."

    The president was feeling more confident about the outcome of the war by May 1864. In a letter written on the same day to John Brough, he wrote that "Every thing looks exceedingly favorable for us." But the upcoming presidential election was looming in the back of his mind. In the election of 1860, New Jersey was one of the few Northern states to vote for Democrat Stephen Douglas over Lincoln. Though Lincoln handily defeated Douglas (as well as John C. Breckinridge and John Bell) in the presidential election, the loss of New Jersey in 1860 caused the incumbent concerns as the 1864 election neared. (Knowing that Democrats had made strong gains in New Jersey's mid-term state elections of 1862 was equally worrying for the president.) Possibly hoping to strengthen his chances in the Garden State for the upcoming presidential election, the president sends this letter to the War Secretary to promote a New Jersey colonel to brigadier general. Later in August, the Democratic Party nominated George McClellan, a resident of New Jersey. Sure enough, the president lost New Jersey in the November 1864 presidential election, but he handily won the national contest. This letter is not in Roy Basler's Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.

    Condition: Hinged only at the top at two points to a larger stiff backing for an overall size of 9" x 12". The text and signature are clearly and boldly written. A single vertical crease has been repaired. Uneven horizontal toning below the signature; otherwise, lightly age-toned with only very minor soiling.

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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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