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    Abraham Lincoln Signed Document: Union Admiral Andrew H. Foote's Appointment as Captain in the Union Navy in the First Months of the War. One partially printed, vellum page, 14.5" x 17.5", Washington, August 5, 1861, appointing "Andrew H. Foote...a Captain in the Navy from the 29th of June 1861 in the service of the United States." Countersigned by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. Embellished with maritime engraving and blind embossed seal of the Department of the Navy at lower center. Moderately toned along the edges; very slight damage at lower left corner. Text is faded slightly, but still legible.

    Better known to historians as "Admiral" on account of the highest rank he attained, Andrew Hull Foote (1806-1863) is here named a Captain early on in the Civil War. Foote was a volatile combination of warrior and reformer perfectly suited for command. As a young man, he left behind his studies at West Point to ply the high seas and became a Navy midshipman in 1822. Much of his early career was spent off the West African coast engaged in suppressing the slave trade. This must have been rewarding work for an officer with firm abolitionist convictions. Foote suffered neither infractions against international law nor insults to the American flag. Acting as an observer during the Chinese Opium Wars in 1856, Foote's command - the U.S.S. Portsmouth - came under fire from Chinese batteries. Brooking no nonsense, American landing parties captured and silenced the aggressors. The Civil War brought rapid promotion to many career officers, including Foote. He was given command of the Mississippi River Squadron and, in early 1862, successfully cooperated with the U.S. Army to capture the key Confederate forts of Donelson, Henry and Island No. 10. These Union victories went far towards securing Kentucky and Tennessee while providing a base of operations against key objectives in the Deep South. Foote himself was wounded at Fort Donelson and temporarily was assigned to a desk in Washington following the campaign. Foote was one of the earliest to receive the rank of admiral, but his potential as an admiral was never realized. Foote died in 1863 while en route to Charleston, South Carolina, where he was to command the blockading fleet.


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    June, 2013
    8th Saturday
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