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    General Grant asks Secretary Stanton to help him discover if Confederate officers "are still in irons at Johnson's Island"

    Ulysses S. Grant Autograph Letter Signed "U. S. Grant Lt. Gen." to War Secretary Edwin Stanton. One page, 7.5" x 7.25", City Point, Virginia, February 15, 1865. As the Civil War wound down, the Confederate Agent of Exchange notified General Grant that several Confederate officers were still imprisoned in a POW camp on Johnson's Island. To look into the matter, Grant writes this letter to Secretary Stanton, asking him to direct General William Hoffman to send him a list of confined rebel prisoners so he can see if "such complaints are well founded." A stain to the upper left does not affect any text. Light mat-burn around the borders of the letter. Grant wrote the letter on the back of stationery reading, "Head Quarters Armies of the United States." Written in another hand below that is "City Point, Va. Feby 15th, 1865 / Lieut. Col. W. S. Duff / 2d Illinois Artillery / Colonel." Minor staining and mounting remnants on the reverse. Smoothed folds. The body of the letter reads in full:

    "Hon. E. M. Stanton, Sec. of War, Washington. The rebel Agt. of Exchange says he understands that Campbell, Mars and others are still in irons at Johnson's Island. Will you please direct Gen. Hoffman to furnish me a list of rebel prisoners who are still so confined and under what orders so that I may know whether such complaints are well founded."

    For three years, the 300-acre Johnson's Island located off the coast of Lake Erie near Sandusky, Ohio, held Confederate prisoners, most being officers. In all, over 15,000 Rebels spent time on the island from the time of its opening in April 1862 until it was closed in September 1865. General William Hoffman, who Grant directed to send a "list of rebel prisoners," was the Commissary-General of Prisoners. Three days after writing this letter, Grant received a response from General Hoffman which said that "the only prisoner in Irons at Johnson's Island is a Citizen prisoner Thomas F. Berry who was so confined last night for killing Lt. H. Morgan a prisoner of War" (Ulysses S. Grant, The Papers of Ulysses S. Grant: November 16, 1864-February 20, 1865, Volume 13, [SIU Press, 1967], 441). "Campbell" is Confederate General Alexander William Campbell, who was captured while in western Tennessee in 1863 recruiting and supervising elections. He had been exchanged earlier in December 1864.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
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