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    Description

    Nathaniel Lyon Archive of Letters. Eleven autograph letters signed, one autograph document signed, and one clipped signature make up this lot. The letters and document span from January 1, 1846 to June 30, 1860, covering the period when Lyon was serving during the Seminole Wars, the Mexican-American War, and the "Bleeding Kansas" border wars. All of the papers have been signed "N. Lyon" and are reports of "Quarterly Returns of Ordnance of Ordnance Stores" for either Company "B", "C", or "G" of the 2nd Infantry. The one document is a request for stationery, while the clipped signature has been clearly taken from a longer letter.

    From his earlier reports, we can trace Lyon as he was stationed in Mexico and then California, at Monterey, Benicia, San Diego and finally Fort Miller. However, by July of 1855, Lyon had been transferred to serving in Missouri and Kansas as the fight for border states began. On July 1, 1855, while in Camp on the Missouri River, Lyon wrote: "Herewith enclosed I respectfully transmit the Quarterly Return of Ordnance and Ordnance Stores pertaining to Company 'B' 2nd Infy for the second Quarter 1855. Lieuts Hunter and Long not having turned over the Company property for which they are responsible an Inventory of what is on hand has been made and the articles on it herewith taken up."

    Lyon would go on to be posted at Fort Lookout in October 1856, at For Scott in July 1858, at Fort Randall in March 1859 and finally Fort Riley in June 1860. It was apparently while at Fort Riley in Kansas that Lyon became fully indoctrinated in the anti-slavery movement, and he strongly believed in preserving the Union. Eight months after the last of these reports was written, Lyon was made commander of the Union arsenal in St. Louis. He is credited with defeating the Missouri secessionist movement when on May 10, 1861 his troops surrounded pro-Confederate militias and forced their surrender (the Camp Jackson Affair). At the Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, Lyon was mortally wounded while rallying his vastly outnumbered troops. His death was widely mourned in the North; his brilliant work had done much to hold Missouri for the Union.

    Condition: All of the papers have usual flattened folds, with uneven toning throughout. They range from good to very fine, with some having some areas of foxing, soiling, and pencil notations. The clipped signature has been tipped into a slightly larger sheet so that both sides are visible. Overall very fine.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    25th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 273

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    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
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    Brandon, MS
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