Abraham Lincoln
Philadelphia, PA; Washington, D.C., September 1, 1863
Lincoln Promotes a Future Maj. Gen. Whose "right leg was broken by a musket shot" - California Association too
ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Autograph Endorsement Signed, to Edwin M. Stanton and Henry W. Halleck, September 1, 1863, Washington, D.C., on William Millward to Abraham Lincoln, August 22, 1863, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 4 pp., 7.875" x 10". Some ink bleed-through and transfer; first page chipped at lower corner, slight split at bottom of centerfold; very good.

President Abraham Lincoln wrote a brief endorsement on this letter of recommendation for the promotion of Colonel John Ely to Brigadier General. Lincoln submitted the letter to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and General-in-Chief Major General Henry W. Halleck. William Millward, a former Republican Congressman from Pennsylvania and the current U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, wrote the letter to Lincoln reviewing Ely's military career and other qualifications and asking for his promotion. Ely received a promotion to Maj. Gen of Volunteers General in 1865.

At the start of the war, Ely had recruited a company from his native Bucks County, Pennsylvania, which joined the 1st California regiment (later the 71st Pennsylvania). He then raised five companies of the 23rd Pennsylvania Volunteers and became a major in that regiment before being promoted to lieutenant colonel and then colonel.

Complete Transcript
United States Marshal's Office,
Eastern District of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, Aug 22 1863
To his Excellency / A Lincoln / President
I have the honour to add my testimony in favour of the promotion of Col John Ely of the 23rd R P V, to the rank of Brig Genl of Vols. I have known Col Ely intimately for the past ten years and no officer in the service more heartily enjoys the confidence of the friends of the cause in the 5th Congressional Dst than he
When the southern traitors changed from threats to blows by firing on Ft Sumpter Col Ely then in active business quit it, & recruited the first 3 years Company in Bucks (his native) County and had it mustered into the service in the 1st California Regt under command of the lamented Baker, taking them to Ft Schuyler NY for that purpose. He subsequently recruited a Battallion of 5 Companies and with them was attached to the 23rd Regt PV then recruiting and commanded by Col. (now Maj Genl) D B Birney, he being mustered into service as its junior Majr; with his Regt & the Army of the Potomac he went to the Peninsula and in Command of two Companies of the 23rd was the 1st Field Officer in the rebel works at Lee's Mills on the Warwick river – was in the battle of Williamsburg & at Fair Oaks in Genl Keye's Corps, his right leg was broken by a musket shot in the early part of the action but he remained in Command of the left wing of his Regt & successfully kept the Enemy in check on the right of our line untill near the Close of the day.
He rejoined his Regt as its Lt Colonel before his wound had Entirely healed just after the battle of Antietam & was in all the Actions on the Rappahannock under Burnside and Hooker
At Fredericksburg May 3rd he with his Regt together with the 6th Maine & 5th Wisconsin formed & held the 1st of the 3 heights that were taken by the 6th Corps under Maj Genl Sedgwick. In a business Experience of twenty years Col Ely has been accustomed to the Successfull management of men, and I believe he will fill with credit and usefulness to the Service the position asked for.
Very Respect
Your Obdt. Svt.
William Millward

[Endorsement by Lincoln:]
Submitted to the Sec. of War & General-in-Chief.
A. Lincoln
Sept 1, 1863

Historical Background
John Ely's first recruiting efforts yielded a company from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, committed to serving for three years. He had these recruits mustered into the 1st California Regiment at Fort Schuyler, New York.

In April 1861, President Abraham Lincoln commissioned his close friend, veteran of the Mexican War, and U.S. Senator from Oregon Edward D. Baker to raise a California brigade to consist of four regiments. The 1st California regiment had 15 companies, rather than the normal 10, composed of recruits from Philadelphia and surrounding areas, and the regiment was placed under the immediate command of Lieutenant-Colonel Isaac Wistar, who had been a ranger in California in the 1850s. Together with the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th California Infantry, it comprised the California brigade under the command of Senator Baker. They encountered their first battle experience at the Battle of Ball's Bluff. On the morning of October 21, 1861, Union troops crossed the Potomac River and engaged Confederates. In an attempted retreat across the Potomac, the Union troops were hampered by the presence of only three small boats. Baker sent the 1st California to locate the Confederate right flank, and in the ensuing fight between the 1st California and the 8th Virginia, Baker was killed. The 1st California was renamed the 71st Pennsylvania and became part of the famous Philadelphia Brigade. Of the 1,665 men who served in the regiment during the war, only 153 returned uninjured.

William Millward (1822-1871) was born in Philadelphia, attended public schools, and engaged in the manufacture of leather. He was elected to Congress as an Opposition Party candidate in 1854 and served from 1855 to 1857, losing his bid for reelection in 1856 as a Unionist candidate. He won election as a Republican in 1858, and served from 1859 to 1861. President Abraham Lincoln appointed Millward as marshal for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and he held that position from 1861 to 1865. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson appointed Millward as director of the United States Mint, but the Senate did not confirm him, and he served only from October 1866 to April 1867.

John Ely (1816-1869) was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. During the Civil War, he served as major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel of the 23rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Fair Oaks in May 1862, and his leg was subsequently amputated. In December 1863, Ely commissioned the creation of a medal to be given to 100 of the bravest men of the regiment who made a bayonet charge on Marye's Heights during the Second Battle of Fredericksburg on May 3, 1863. Because of injuries he had received, he resigned from the regiment in December 1863 and in January 1864, received an appointment as colonel of the 21st Regiment of the Veteran Reserve Corps. Late in the war, he served as Provost Marshal General for recruiting and disbursing for New Jersey and West Virginia. In September 1865, Ely was promoted to Major General, U.S. Volunteers, for "gallant services in the field" and "meritorious services during the late war." He served as Superintendent of the Freedmen's Bureau in Kentucky in 1866. He was later promoted to Brevet Major General, U.S. Volunteers. On April 8, 1869, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ely as United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the same position Millward held during the war. Ely died on May 4, 1869, after less than a month in the position.

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.


  • 7.875" x 10"
  • Artist Name:
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Medium:
  • AES

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