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    General Grant gives an order to gather captured Confederate animals

    Ulysses S. Grant Special Order Signed "U. S. Grant." One handwritten page, 7.75" x 10", "Head Quarters, Dist. of W. Ten. Fort Donelson [Tennessee], Feby. 19th 1862." Only days before this letter was written, General Grant had captured two important Confederate forts. Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, was overcome with minimal loss of Union troops, but Fort Donelson, nine miles to the east on the Cumberland River, offered more resistance. After a battle lasting several days and costing the Union near 2,700 casualties, the fort fell to Grant on February 16. Following the victory, the Union troops had an unusually large number of Confederate prisoners of war to deal with, along with their draft animals and horses. In this letter, Grant assigns thirty-one-year-old Embury D. Osband, a captain in his bodyguard, with the task of gathering all of the captured animals. The order reads in full:

    "Special Order.

    Capt. Osband, 4th Ill. Cavalry, with such assistance as may be necessary, will visit all the camps and bring in such captured teams and animals as he may find not retained by proper authority. All captured property belongs to government and should first go into the hands of the proper officers to be accounted for and only be taken for private used after appraisement and by competant [sic] authority.
    By Order
    [signed] U. S. Grant
    Brig Gen. Commdg.

    [Endorsed] I authorize Lieut B S Bling[?] to act for me.
    [Signed] E. D. Osband
    Capt Genl. US Grants

    Captain Embury Osband from Chicago eventually rose to the rank of brevet brigadier in the 3rd Regiment U.S. Colored Cavalry. When General Grant wrote this order, Osband was serving in Co. "A" of the Illinois 4th Cavalry, which had been assigned Grant's escort. Toned paper with folds. Light discoloration appears in the text, though text and signature are bold and easily legible.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    13th-14th Tuesday-Wednesday
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