Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Abraham Lincoln Excellent Autograph Letter Signed: President Lincoln obliges an important railroad man who wishes his son appointed a Commissary, telling Secretary of War Stanton not only to "see" him, but to "see & hear" him.

    Signed: "A Lincoln" as President, one page, 5" x 7.25". Executive Mansion, Washington, May 30, 1863. To Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. In full: " My dear Sir: I wish to oblige Mr. Jesse L. Williams, who will hand you this. He has two sons in the Army - one, Edward P. Williams - is now a Lieut. & Adjutant of the 100th Ia. Vols, at this time between Memphis & Grand Junction. The father wishes him appointed a Commissary, and I, as I have said, wish him obliged, if it can be consistently done. Please see & hear Mr. Williams. Yours truly."

    On December 31, 1863, President Lincoln sent to the U.S. Senate a message nominating "the persons named in the accompanying communication for appointment in the Volunteer force now in the service of the United States, as proposed by the Secretary of War, being appointments made in vacation prior to the 5th of December, 1863, and now on duty." Among the persons Stanton had proposed to President Lincoln "to be commissaries of subsistence with the rank of captain" was "Edward P. Williams, of Indiana, June 1, 1863," dated two days after this letter asking Stanton to meet with Lieutenant Williams' father. A commissary of subsistence is an officer whose business is to provide food for a body of troops or a military post.

    Jesse L. Williams (1807-1886) was Chief Engineer of the Wabash & Erie Canal (1832-1854) and the Ft. Wayne and Chicago Railroad (1854-1856). He was director of the Pittsburgh, Ft. Wayne, and Chicago Railroad, part of the Pennsylvania Railroad, from 1856-1864. During the Civil War, the railroads were critical in transporting war materials as well as troops. On October 7, 1864, President Lincoln appointed Williams one of five government directors of the Union Pacific Railroad. He was reappointed each succeeding year until the work was completed in 1869 as the first transcontinental railroad in North America.

    Edward P. Williams (1838-1910), a lawyer, entered military service in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The 100th Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment was organized at Fort Wayne and was mustered in September 10, 1862. The 100th took part in Grant's Central Mississippi Campaign with operations on the Mississippi Central Railroad from November 26, 1862, to January 10, 1863, later marching to Memphis, Tennessee, via Grand Junction, LaGrange and Holly Springs, from June 1st to July 21, 1863. Williams later served on the staffs of Brigadier General of Volunteers William Sooy Smith (1830-1916) and Brigadier General John B. Turchin (1822-1901).

    Edwin M. Stanton (1814-1869) was Buchanan's Attorney General (1860-1861) and Lincoln's Secretary of War (1862-1865), continuing to serve in Johnson's cabinet. His dismissal by Andrew Johnson in 1867 led to the President's impeachment for violation of the Tenure of Office Act. Appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by Grant, Stanton died four days after being confirmed by the Senate, before he was sworn in.

    On verso there is a mounting stain at the top edge with no show-through. The letter has been expertly repaired on verso behind two blank areas and the printed letterhead. A light vertical fold passes through the beginning of the "A" of the signature.

    In fine condition, this letter is an excellent example of President Lincoln wishing to oblige an important railroad man who wishes his son promoted. It is interesting to note that Lincoln tells Stanton to not only "see" him, but to "see & hear" him. This letter would make an outstanding addition to a presidential collection and is ideal for a collector wishing to own a one page ALS of Lincoln as President with military content. From the Gary Grossman Collection.

    View all of [Gary Grossman Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,261

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold on Apr 16, 2007 for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    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 2022 April 3 Guitars and Musical Instruments Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    I don’t often do testimonials but in this case I felt truly obligated to thank Heritage Auctions for the extremely professional job your organization did for me.
    Charlie K.,
    Pittsburgh, PA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search