President Ulysses S. Grant and General Orville E. Babcock: Two Autograph Letters Signed to General Thomas H. Ruger. Here, President Grant writes to Gen. Thomas Ruger, superintendent to the United States Military Academy at West Point, regarding his recent appointment of Douglas Howard to the Academy. Three pages of a bifolium, 5.5" x 9", on Executive Mansion letterhead, Washington, September 26, 1874, in part: "He is a poor orphan boy, the son of a Volunteer officer who, with about one third of his company, was killed by a railroad accident before reaching the field. . . . The young man has had no education but what he could get at the free schools of Galena, and his mother being poor he has been deprived of their advantages for a year past . . . I am told however that he is very bright. His brother, older than himself, I appointed to the Naval Academy five years ago, when he was but little over fourteen. He graduated no. 4 in his class . . . I hope the brother may do as well at West Point, and do not doubt but he will if he succeeds in entering."

    As a follow up to Grant's letter, Gen. Orville Babcock, himself a West Point graduate who had served as an aide-de-camp to Grant during the war and now served as his private secretary, wrote this letter to Ruger a month later, inquiring after Howard's progress. One page with integral blank, 5.5" x 9", on Executive Mansion letterhead, Washington, October 30, 1874, in full: "The President feels an interest in young Howard and would like to know how he has done during the month. With kind regards to Mrs Ruger and other friends at the Point."

    Douglas Howard did succeed at West Point. He spent nearly two decades in the army, reaching the rank of captain before retiring sometime in the mid-1890s due to deafness. Both letters come with their original transmittal envelopes (Babcock's features an additional free frank signature). Each letter shows the expected folds and age toning.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2015
    12th-13th Friday-Saturday
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