Description

    Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed as President to the Superintendent of the Union Railroads

    Abraham Lincoln Autograph Letter Signed as President. One page, 5" x 7.5", "Executive Mansion, April 15, 1862." Not in Basler, this is a fine example of a quickly scribed letter by Lincoln, as it has been written on a full sheet of paper. Many letters of this sort were written on scraps of paper or trimmed pages, often on the backs of other letters or documents. In this instance, the president directs his comments to Daniel C. McCallum, the Superintendent of the Union Railroads, requesting that he try to find work for a petitioner. In full:

    "Col. McCallum: The bearer of this, Mr. M. Meyer, is vouched to you as a worthy man, and competent in some parts of Railroad matters. Please see him, & give him employment if possible.
    Yours sncly,
    A. Lincoln."

    When President Lincoln wrote this letter, Colonel McCallum was only two months into his appointment by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton as Military Director and Superintendent of Railroads. Later in the war, McCallum surprised and impressed the president by performing one of the greatest movements of troops in the nineteenth century. On a moonlit evening in September 1863, War Secretary Stanton daringly proposed to the president that twenty thousand troops be immediately sent from the Army of the Potomac, then stationed south of Washington, D.C., to join General Hooker's army and save Chattanooga, Tennessee. McCallum, put on the spot by Lincoln, estimated that he could move the troops the 1,233 miles by rail in only seven days. McCallum didn't disappoint, delivering what historian James McPherson called "an extraordinary feat of logistics - the longest and fastest movement of such a large body of troops before the twentieth century." (James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988], 675.) McCallum was promoted to major general in March 1865.

    Letter is moderately toned and very boldly penned with stray ink stains likely occurring at the time it was written. Glue residue traces on verso.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    8th-9th Friday-Saturday
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