Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    Large Archive of the Allegheny Arsenal's Major John Bartlett Butler, containing approximately 100 manuscript and imprinted items dated between 1821 and 1869 concerning military, civil and family matters. Butler, a Connecticut native, settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the War of 1812. During the Mexican War, Major Butler served on the staff of General Zachary Taylor and was an early supporter of the general for the presidency. In addition to serving as a paymaster at the nearby Allegheny Arsenal, he was heavily involved in civic affairs. The following are included:

    Several partially-printed appointments from the 1830s and 1840s signed by the Pennsylvania secretary of state in which Butler is variously named canal commissioner, notary public, and court recorder;

    Mexican War manuscript assigning Butler to the Allegheny Arsenal;

    Pension Department certificate dated May 3, 1852, granting Butler 40 acres for War of 1812 service;

    Washington National Monument Society certificate dated July 12, 1850, for a $5 contribution;

    Connecticut manuscript document dated January 8, 1854, verifying the Revolutionary War service of Butler's father;

    Sheriff's Sale broadside, 9.25" x 11.5", Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, November 29, 1856. According to the broadside, real estate belonging to Butler was being sold to satisfy a debt judgment favoring a Mobile, Alabama, relation by marriage;

    Pen and ink drawing of a naval frigate under full sail, 5.5" x 4.25";

    Letters to President Buchanan seeking a West Point appointment for Butler's son, Jack;

    Simon Cameron Autograph Letter Signed, two pages, 5" x 7.25", Washington, D.C., March 11, 1857, to Major Butler stating, "I am sorry to say that all the Cadets have been made that can be appointed this year." The younger Butler is finally appointed in 1859 only to face a court martial during the Civil War;

    Circular entitled "The U.S. Allegheny Arsenal Question!" 10" x 21.5", Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 6, 1863. Here, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton examines charges of sedition being leveled at certain Arsenal employees. Included are newspaper clippings and letters relating to the accusations;

    Civil War-dated journal belonging to Major Butler containing letters, and newspaper articles regarding the Allegheny Arsenal. Also, two broadsides with the same title, "The U.S. Allegheny Arsenal Question!" but different text (one 10" x 16.5", the other 10" x 21.5"; both dated 1863);

    Letters from Major Butler's final year at the Arsenal and a newspaper clipping citing his retirement in 1864.

    Conditions vary as would be expected in such a large grouping. Most of the items, however, are in good to very good condition with only minor defects such as creases and light stains.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 599

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold on Apr 8, 2011 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 February 11 Manuscripts Signature® Auction .

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search