Lincoln writes in 1861, "Please send me nominations, as Brigadier Generals of Volunteers, for Ulysses S. Grant"Abraham Lincoln Autographed Letter Signed "A. Lincoln." One and one-half pages, 4.5" x 7", "Executive Mansion," July 30, 1861, to Secretary of War Simon Cameron. In this letter written only five months after arriving at the White House, President Lincoln requests nominations for brigadier general of volunteers for Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph Hooker, and eight other men. Nine days earlier, Union troops under the command of General George McClellan lost the first major battle of the Civil War-a major defeat for the Union army. The president writes in full as written:
"In addition to those named in my note of yesterday, please send me nominations, as Brigadier Generals of Volunteers, for Ulysses S. Grant, John A. McClernand, and Benjamin M. Prentiss, of Illinois; B F. Kelly, and F.["rederick" is written in pencil in another hand] W. Lander, of Virginia; ["Joseph" is written in pencil in another hand] Hooker, of California; Edward D. Baker, of Oregon; Siegel, of Missouri; Rufus King of Wisconsin, and Thomas W. Sherman. [struck through in pencil] of the regular Army - You perceive I have only the initials for Kelly and Lander; and no part of the Christian names for Hooker & Siegel - Please fill them in, so far as you have the means, and leave spaces for now to find the rest, which I shall try to do - And be sure to have the nominations reach me in time to be sent to the Senate to-day -
Yours very truly [Signed] A. Lincoln."
Written on the verso in an unknown hand:
Ulysses S. Grant
John A. McClernand
Benjamin M. Prentiss
B. F. Kelly
F. W. Lander
Edwd. D. Baker
Thomas W. Sherman
The President directs nominations as Brig Generals."
A blank calling card (2" x 3.5") is affixed to the third page with a seal, written in an unknown hand and reading, "Kearney -- / McCall -- / Hooker -- / [the following are written in pencil] Heintzelman / Porter (addendum)[?] / Franklin / Buel / Lockwood / Stone / Fitz John Porter / Hunter."
Lincoln's "note of yesterday" was also a letter addressed to War Secretary Cameron. In it, the president requested that Cameron send him as nominations for brigadier general John Pope, Stephen Hurlbut, Joseph Reynolds, Samuel Cutis, Jacob Cox, Robert Schenck, George McCall, and Philip Kearney. These names were sent to the Senate that day, July 29. In the letter offered here, the president wishes to add to those nominated the previous day brigadier general of volunteers Ulysses S. Grant, John A. McClernand, and Benjamin M. Prentiss. He also wanted to add to those nominated brigadier general in the regular army Benjamin F. Kelly, and Frederick W. Lander, Joseph Hooker, Edward D. Baker, Franz Siegel, Rufus King, and Thomas W. Sherman (though he forgot the "Christian names" for some, as he explains in the letter). All ten men listed by Lincoln in this letter (which are the same listed in a different hand on the last page of the letter) were appointed brigadier generals retroactively from May 17, 1861.
After graduating from West Point in 1843 and serving in the Mexican War, Ulysses S. Grant resigned from the army in 1854. The beginning of the Civil War found him struggling to make ends meet in his father's tannery in Galena, Illinois. He soon began recruiting and training Illinois volunteers and was quickly promoted to colonel in command of the 21st Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Then, in this letter, President Lincoln-encouraged by fellow Illinoisan Elihu B. Washburne-nominated Grant brigadier general. Lincoln's regard for Grant as a general multiplied throughout the war, eventually appointing the former tanner Commanding General of the Army in 1864.
Shortly after the loss at Bull Run, Joseph Hooker requested a commission from President Lincoln, which he received. In January 1863, the president promoted the aggressive general commander of the Army of the Potomac, but after his defeat in the spring of 1863 at the Battle of Chancellorsville by Robert E. Lee, Hooker offered his resignation, which Lincoln accepted. This important letter is age toned with folds. Minor separation along the central vertical fold. Some penciled notations. Minor stains and soiling.
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