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    Daniel Sickles Extensive Archive, consisting of over thirteen Civil War-dated drafts of letters, two manuscripts, and one notebook containing handwritten text regarding Reconstruction. Before the Civil War began, Sickles (1819-1914) served his home state of New York as a diplomat and politician in the Democratic Party, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1857 until March 1861. When the war started, Sickles, who maintained many political connections, became a political general, proving quite competent as a commander until the Battle of Gettysburg when his insubordination caused the destruction of his III Corps. Sickles himself was wounded at the battle, losing his right leg after being hit with a cannon ball (the leg is on display at the National Museum of Health and Medicine). Sickles' Excelsior Brigade, New York infantry regiments mostly recruited by the general himself, fought in many of the Army of the Potomac's most significant battles, such as Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The archive has been well-preserved. Drafts exhibit the usual smoothed folds and minor staining and soiling.

    This archive consists of the following unsigned war-dated drafts, many regarding the troubled 2nd Regiment. A draft (January 28, 1862) from Camp Stanton to Capt. Dickinson. A draft (January 28, 1862) to Capt. Dickinson regarding recruitment for the 2nd Regiment. A draft (January 31, 1862) regarding the disloyalty of the proprietor of the White Horse tavern and Virginia contraband statements. A draft (January 31, 1862) regarding a military assignment. A draft (February 1, 1862) regarding the dismissal of Surgeon Tingly for numerous reasons, including "obtaining from various persons . . . large quantities of costly wines, liquors, and articles of luxury ostensibly for Hospital use, when such articles were not needed." A draft (February 3, 1862) to Captain Dickinson regarding charges against a soldier. Two drafts to a captain from "Head Quarter Excelsior Brigade 2d Hookers Division, Camp Stanton" on February 8(?), 1862, regarding "the evidences of a deplorable state of demoralization in that Regt. [2nd Regiment." A draft of a letter (March 20, 1862) to Col. Nelson Taylor (future general), regarding an advance into Virginia. A draft (February 1, 1863) regarding the promotion of Nelson Taylor to brigadier general. A draft (February 14, 1863) regarding resolutions passed by the Oregon state assembly. A draft (March 1863) regarding General McClellan. An unsigned letter on mourning stationery regarding Reconstruction (April 1879): "The Southern elections do not show that the presence of troops near the polls has diminished democratic representation." Others are also included. Also included are two partial, undated drafts.

    The two manuscripts consist of the following:

    (1) fascinating eight-page manuscript dated December 25, 1912 and entitled "Lincoln's Prayer for Victory at Gettysburg" in which Sickles describes an encounter with President Lincoln while the general recuperated from his very serious Gettysburg injury. According to the manuscript, during the encounter, Lincoln told Sickles that he "was sure of a victory at Gettysburg." The president then told the general about his prayer to God the night before the battle (Sickles transcribes the prayer in this manuscript). The president told Sickles, "When I rose to my feet, I felt that my prayer was heard. I felt that the victory would be ours." Lincoln was so certain of victory that, while other Washingtonians packed some of their belongings in case the Confederates won the battle and marched on the capital, Lincoln told Sickles that he "did no packing up. I was sure of victory." Near the end of their conversation, Lincoln took Sickles hand and told him something astonishing: that he was "in a prophetic mood . . . You will get well. You will be useful to your country hereafter." And the general did.

    (2) A thirteen-page typed manuscript entitled "President Lincoln's first Inaugural Speech, March 4, 1861" describes Sickles' initial meeting with President Lincoln. It also describes a meeting between Sickles and State Secretary William Seward, a fellow-New Yorker, in which Seward invites Sickles to his house one evening to review the president's inaugural address. Sickles describes the late meeting, in which details of the address, particularly relating to slavery, were discussed. After the meeting, Sickles went directly to the White House to relay the details of the address to President Buchanan. The manuscript ends with the interesting conversation between President Buchanan and Sickles, followed by comments on the inauguration. Cover is soiled near the upper edge.

    The notebook likely dates from the late 1870s and is organized by subject with content about Abraham Lincoln; Reconstruction ("Reconstruction began with the abandonment of the federal Constitution"); the Democratic ("It opposed the Emancipation Proclamation") and Republican Parties; the controversial election of 1876; New York politics; and much more. Not all pages contain text. The spine is weak; the paper covers and many pages are loose.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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