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    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed "A. Lincoln" as President, one page, 5" x 7.75". On Executive Mansion, Washington stationery, July 27, 1863. To Hon. Secretary of War [Edwin M. Stanton]. In full: "Col. Charles F. Havelock has been mustered out of our service, as I suppose, in strict accordance with law, and the routine of the Department. With an imperfect understanding of this, he is deeply mortified by us, whose cause, I think, he has made some sacrifices to try to serve. Considering who he is, how he came here, and the apparantly [sic] abrupt, and, to Europeans, unusual mode of his dismissal, I think the order of dismissal as to him, better be revoked - allowing him his pay. If a reason is asked, place it on the ground of my order." Charles Frederick Havelock (1803-1868) was commissioned in the British army in 1821 with the rank of Cornet, in the service of the 16th Lancers. He fought in the Siege of Bhurtpoor, India, in 1825 and in the capture of Ghuznee in the Afghan War in 1839. In the Sikh Wars (1845-1846), Havelock saw action in the battles of Ferozeshah (where he was seriously wounded), Sobraon, Goojerat, and Moodkee. In 1854, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of the Ottoman Irregular Cavalry and, in 1856, to the rank of Major General. The 58-year-old Major General came to America and volunteered to serve in the Union Army. He spoke with President Lincoln on November 8, 1861, and on December 23, 1861, Lincoln nominated him to be aide-de-camp to Major General George B. McClellan, commanding Army of the Potomac, as of November 23, 1861, with the rank of Colonel. He was confirmed by the Senate the next day. Under the "act to increase the present military establishment of the United States," approved August 5, 1861, the President was given the authority "during the existing insurrection" to "appoint aides-de-camp at will, with the rank of captains, majors, lieutenant-colonels, or colonels."

    In April 1863, Col. Havelock was mustered out of the service. He wrote to Lincoln about what had occurred, and the President, in this letter, requested that, "considering who he is," Secretary of War Stanton revoke his dismissal. It was done but, being a professional soldier, Havelock still had a problem. On August 9, 1863, he wrote to Lincoln from his home at 254 F Street in Washington. From the Lincoln Papers in the Library of Congress: "I beg leave to tender my grateful acknowledgements for your kind consideration in directing that I should be relieved from the order under which I was mustered out of the service in April last, and for your special order, restoring my date pay and emoluments. But on account of the stringency of the certificate which requires me to state that I have been regularly stationed on duty at Washington during the period charged for, I cannot sign it. I believe myself entitled to this allowance, and respectfully ask that the Quarter Master at this Station (Major Morris S Miller) may be authorized to pay me on a certificate in which this phrase may be omitted." The letter has a vertical crease passing through the "L" and between the "i" and "n" of "Lincoln." The left edge is creased and slightly nicked; there is a partial remnant of prior tipping on that edge on verso, behind a minute missing blank portion. Overall, the letter is in fine condition. It is an excellent example of why Lincoln is remembered as a compassionate President. Most probably contrary to Army regulations, feeling sorry for Havelock, Lincoln ordered Stanton to revoke his dismissal. If anyone asked why, it was because the President said so.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2007
    16th-17th Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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