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    Clara Barton Autograph Letter Twice Signed. Two pages of a bifolium, 10" x 8", Washington, D.C.; June 28, 1866. Addressed to General Benjamin Butler, regarding her friend and colleague Dorence Atwater on "Office of Correspondence with the Friends of the Missing Men of the United States Army" stationery. It reads in part: "...You have observed the position which young [Dorence] Atwater's case has assumed...that the War Department being placed upon the defensive will make a firm stand and a strong fight. Need I attempt to say what strength, security, and quiet we should gain from your presence among us...Joseph Sheldon Esq. of New Haven is here preparing the facts with some care, the Committee is awaiting the arrival (or what is the same) refusal of papers from the President, and especially well disposed to do justice in the case, but a combination of the forces of the War Department will be arrayed against Judge [Robert S.] Hale's inquiry to break it down. I enclose a copy of his remarks (from the Globe) by which you will observe that he is after Genl [Edward D.] Townsend as well as his subordinates. The case is likely to make some noise, I apprehend..." Signed, "Clara Barton" With a postscript which reads in full: "P.S. In order to save your time, if you should desire it we can telegraph you within 36 hours of the time the case will be likely to come up." Signed, "CB."

    During the Civil War, Atwater was a Prisoner of War at Andersonville Prison where, despite great risk to himself, he secretly kept a copy of the "Death List" of Union prisoners who died there. After the war, Atwater smuggled the list out of the prison and shared it with Barton, who was corresponding with families of missing soldiers. Despite also sharing the list with government officials, Atwater refused to relinquish his copy of the list to the U.S. government because it declined to publish the names for the benefit of the families, as Atwater wanted. As a result, Atwater was court-martialed and imprisoned, but not before Horace Greeley, Editor of the "New York Tribune", published the entire list of names, causing an enormous public outcry to free and pardon Atwater.

    Condition: Lightly soiled with smoothed folds.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2021
    6th Saturday
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