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    Stanton Revives an Ancient Weapon!

    Edwin M. Stanton 1863 Autograph Letter Signed. One page, 4" x 7.5", "Washington City" letterhead, September 11, 1863. In full: "The Adjutant General will give a pass & transportation to Levi E. Short to go to Hilten [sic] Head & take with him 400 gross Greek fire and report to General Gilmore with request that he furnish Mr. Short Substinence & quarters as long as he deems Mr. Shorts presence useful to the service...P.S. Direct the Chief of Ordnance to order 400 gross of Mr Shorts Greek fire." Greek fire was a burning-liquid weapon originally used by the Byzantine Empire. Inventor Levi Short or Philadelphia resurrected the substance during the Civil War as an incendiary substance used to charge shells. It saw little service because of its tendency to explode in the gun before it was fired. Short's version was probably a solution of phosphorus in bisulfide of carbon. This letter shows Stanton's willingness to try a "new" weapon in hopes of bringing a quicker end to the war. Very good condition. Purchased from Charles Hamilton in 1955.

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    Auction Dates
    December, 2006
    1st-2nd Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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