DescriptionAbraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed as President. One-page, 5" x 7.5". Washington, D.C.; January 27, 1862. A letter from President Lincoln to Major General Henry Halleck in St. Louis, in which he poses the following question:
Could ten, or even five, Mortar-beds, for the thirteen-inch Mortars, to go on the Rafts at Cairo, be made in St. Louis, by the 13th of February? Please answer.
Henry W. Halleck (1815-1872) served as a major general in the Union Army during the Civil War and was also noted for his expertise in military studies. At the time of this letter, Halleck was in command of the Department of the Missouri, having replaced General John C. Fremont the previous November. Halleck was later called to Washington, D.C. by Lincoln to assume the duties of General in Chief of all the Union armies in the summer of 1862.
By January 1862 Lincoln began to take a greater role in military affairs, as this letter attests. In the Western theatre of the war, Lincoln wanted to support his generals, including Ulysses S. Grant, by providing them with floating mortars, to be constructed at Cairo, Illinois, to use on the Mississippi, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers. This fleet of mortars would greatly assist Grant in his offensive down the Tennessee River. In mid-January 1862, Lincoln learned that no mortars had been built. Angrily, he took the initiative to get the job done, as this letter to General Halleck demonstrates.
A brief, but interesting letter showing Lincoln in his role as Commander in Chief and his increasing involvement in minute details concerning military operations.
Condition: Uneven toning and slight mat burn at the edges. The letter has two horizontal folds and one vertical, and a small bit of paper loss at center, affecting the word "at." There are two mounting remnants at the top edges of the reverse side of letter. The letter is accompanied by an engraving of Lincoln.
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