Lot 275

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“Abraham Lincoln, President... died of a mortal wound inflicted upon him by an assassin” & 100 More General Orders from War Department at End of Civil War, Fantastic!

This volume of printed General Orders from the Adjutant General's Office of the War Department in 1865, ranges from No. 2, issued on January 7, to No. 159, issued on November 3. The orders deal with a variety of topics including appointing generals to command, the exchange of prisoners, presidential proclamations regarding trade, freedpeople, and other topics; the assassination and funeral of Abraham Lincoln; Grant's congratulations to the army; and provisions for the demobilization of the armed forces at the end of the war.

Of the 101 general orders included here, Assistant Adjutant General Edward D. Townsend issued 83, Assistant Adjutant General W A. Nichols issued 17, and Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant issued 1. There are duplicates of three orders. A similar order book for 1863 sold for nearly $30,000 in our January auction this year.

[CIVIL WAR.] Edward D. Townsend and A. Nichols, Printed Documents Signed in Type, War Orders Issued by the War Department, January 7-November 3, 1865, Washington, D.C. Series of War Orders bound by string in hardcover volume. 248 pp., 5.5" x 8.5". Boards worn on edges; very good.


[Lieutenant General Grant, General Orders, No. 108, June 2, 1865:]
"Soldiers of the Armies of the United States: By your patriotic devotion to your country in the hour of danger and alarm—your magnificent fighting, bravery, and endurance—you have maintained the supremacy of the Union and the Constitution, overthrown all armed opposition to the enforcement of the laws, and of the Proclamation forever abolishing Slavery—the cause and pretext of the Rebellion—and opened the way to the rightful authorities to restore order and inaugurate peace on a permanent and enduring basis on every foot of American soil...."

[Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, General Orders, No. 24, February 21, 1865:]
"Ordered, That a National Salute be fired to-morrow noon, February 22, at West Point, and at every fort, arsenal, and army headquarters of the United States, in honor of the restoration of the Flag of the Union upon Fort Sumter."

[Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, General Orders, No. 32, March 8, 1865:]
"Female nurses traveling on duty under proper orders may have their rations commuted at the rate allowed to soldiers traveling on detached service...seventy-five cents a day."

[Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, General Orders, No. 35, March 11, 1865:]
"Now, therefore, be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do issue this my proclamation...ordering and requiring all deserters to return to their proper posts; and I do hereby notify them that all deserters who shall, within sixty days from the date of this proclamation...return to service, or report them selves to a provost marshal, shall be pardoned, on condition that they return to their regiments and companies, or to such other organizations as they may be assigned to, and serve the remainder of their original terms of enlistment....

[Assistant Adjutant General Nichols, General Orders, No. 66, April 16, 1865:]
"The following order of the Secretary of War announces to the Armies of the United States the untimely and lamentable death of the illustrious Abraham Lincoln, late President of the United States:... The distressing duty has devolved upon the Secretary of War to announce to the Armies of the United States, that at twenty-two minutes after seven o'clock, on the morning of Saturday, the fifteenth day of April, 1865, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, died of a mortal wound inflicted upon him by an assassin....
"EDWIN M. STANTON. Secretary of War.
"On the day after the receipt of this order at the Headquarters of each Military Division, Department, Army, Post, Station, Fort, and Arsenal, and at the Military Academy at West Point, the troops and cadets will be paraded at 10 o'clock a.m., and the order read to them; after which all labors and operations for the day will cease and be suspended, as far as practicable in a state of war.
"The national flag will be displayed at half-staff....
"The officers of the Armies of the United States will wear the badge of mourning on the left arm and on their swords, and the colors of their commands and regiments will be put in mourning for the period of six months.
"By command of Lieutenant General Grant."

[Assistant Adjutant General Nichols, General Orders, No. 69, April 17, 1865:]
"By direction of the President of the United States, the War Department will be closed on Wednesday next, the day of the funeral of the late President of the United States."

[Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, General Orders, No. 72, April 20, 1865:]
"The following General Officers and Guard of Honor will accompany the remains of the late President from the city of Washington to Springfield, the capital of the State of Illinois, and continue with them until they are consigned to their final resting place:
"Brevet Brigadier General E. D. Townsend, Assistant Adjutant General to represent the Secretary of War...."

[Assistant Adjutant General Townsend, General Orders, No. 109, June 6, 1865:]
"The prisoners of war at the several Depots in the North will be discharged under the following regulations and restrictions:
"I..All enlisted men of the rebel army, and petty officers and seamen of the rebel navy, will be discharged upon taking the oath of allegiance.
"II..Officers of the rebel army not above the grade of captain, and of the rebel navy not above the grade of lieutenant, except such as have graduated from the U.S. Military or Naval Academies, and such as held a commission in either the U.S. Army or Navy at the beginning of the rebellion, may be discharged upon taking the oath of allegiance...."

Edward D. Townsend (1817-1893) was born in Boston and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1837. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery and served in the Second Seminole War. In 1846, he was transferred to the Adjutant General's Corps and assigned to Washington, D.C. After serving on the Pacific Coast from 1851 to 1856, he spent the rest of his career in Washington. He served as assistant adjutant general throughout the Civil War to Adjutant General Lorenzo Thomas. In 1869 he was promoted to brigadier general and served as adjutant general until his retirement in 1880. He was killed by an accidental shock from a cable car.

William A. Nichols (1818-1869) was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1838. He fought with the Army in the Mexican War, rising to the rank of brevet major for gallant conduct. During the Civil War, he served as adjutant general of the Department of the East until November 1861, then briefly in New York before becoming an assistant adjutant general in the War Department in Washington for the remainder of the war. He was promoted to brevet brigadier general in 1864 and to brevet major general in March 1865. After the war, Nichols served as chief of staff to General William T. Sherman (1866-1869) and then General Philip H. Sheridan (1869), before he died in St. Louis.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $99 $10
$100 $299 $20
$300 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $2,999 $200
$3,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 + $5,000