Gideon Welles: Selecting Lincoln's Cabinet and Replacing the Captain of the Kearsarge. Four documents related to or signed by "Old Neptune", Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, from various stages of his career. There are two stampless covers, written in 1835 and 1844, when Welles was the Connecticut State Comptroller. The first is secretarial and answers an inquiry regarding the Revolutionary War records of two individuals. The second is a lengthy letter to Welles from someone making multiple requests for searches of military records. From the Civil War period, we offer an 8" x 10" partly-printed document on "Navy Department" letterhead, marked "Duplicate", December 5, 1862, ordering Captain John A. Winslow to report to Rear Admiral Paulding, transfer to the Steamer Vanderbilt and "...upon falling in with the U. S. Steamer Sloop of War Kearsage [sic], you will relieve Captain Pickering in command of that vessel." Endorsed by both Winslow and Paulding. Winslow would be in command of the Kearsarge during the June 5, 1864 Battle of Cherbourg, when she successfully engaged the Confederate raider, the C.S.S. Alabama in one of the most famous naval battles of the Civil War. Docketed on verso. Some ink stain "redactions", as shown. An historically important document. Along similar lines, we include a 5" x 8" Autograph Letter by Welles, 4pp., lacking conclusion and not signed, Hartford, July 1, 1872, discussing at length inaccuracies contained in Ward Hill Lamon's book "Life of Abraham Lincoln". It is a very insightful letter dealing with the selection process in Lincoln's Cabinet. In part: "... Lamon states that Presdt. Lincoln did actually 'offer the Treasury Depart. To Mr. Guthrie of Kentucky', or authorize Mr. Speed to do so. The fact, if so, is new to me, for Mr Lincoln in two or three conversations with me on the subject of the formation of his Cabinet made no allusion to the circumstance. Again, Lamon says on the same page 'he commissioned Thurlow Weed to place a seat in the Cabinet at the disposal of Mr. Gilmer of North Carolina.' Mr. Lincoln said to me, that in making up his Cabinet, he desired, very much, to have one good, reliable man from the South of the number; and he named Stephens, Gilmer and one or two others, his preference being the former, but he found the whole thing impracticable. He also wished to have men of both the old parties, Whigs and Democrats... To this, Weed and those whom he represented objected, except they favored Cameron and did not oppose Judd. The Auburn policy was a Cabinet composed mainly of men of Whig antecedents - in plain words a Seward Cabinet. Weed was particularly anxious to exclude me, but the President said on the day succeeding his election he had made up the frame work of his Cabinet including myself... there was some changes and modifications, but that his selection for New England he never changed... Weed was intrusive and gave him some trouble..." Another historic document.

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