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Abraham Lincoln Autograph Signature on Endorsement

Abraham Lincoln
War Date Endorsement

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Description

Abraham Lincoln Signature; Lincoln pens a war date endorsement and signs as “A. Lincoln.”

He is responding to a petition (also included) addressed “To the President of the United States” and is signed by H(enry) S(mith) Lane, then U.S. Senator from Indiana, and nine others, requesting that Brig. Gen. C. F. Smith be removed from his post: “From various sources…we are fully convinced that the efficient usefulness of the army at Paducah, Kentucky, and the cause of the loyal community of that Section requires that (Smith) commander of that post…be relieved…immediately.”

As usual, Lincoln passes that decision on to Halleck. But Smith, a mentor of both Grant and Sherman and the major reason Ft. Donelson fell, was actually promoted in March 1862.

Why was Lane asking for his removal? Perhaps because it was Smith who ordered that a civilian who had raised a Sesech flag over his house not be molested. Lew Wallace, a fellow Hoosier with Lane, had forced that civilian to not only remove the offending flag, but to raise a Federal flag instead. It seems Smith’s protection of that individual soured him to Wallace, who complained to Lane. Likely a result of a classic conflict between a Regular in the army (Smith) and a Volunteer (the abrasive Wallace), it also highlighted the gulf between those who wished to force “traitors” into submission (Wallace) and those who respected “order” and adherence to orders (Smith), since both Grant and Lincoln had ordered that citizens of Kentucky – still a state in the Union – not be molested.

A fascinating back-story from the Home Front (told with more detail in Gail Stephens’ Shadow Of Shiloh: Major General Lew Wallace In The Civil War; p.41-42).

Excellent, even though the first line of Lincoln’s plainly readable endorsement is partially covered (though still quite readable) by a War Department clerk’s red penciled docket. Also, on this very day, Lincoln informed Sec. of War Simon Cameron that he would be relieved of that position and nominated as minister to Russia!

Lincoln, Abraham.   Autograph Endorsement, signed “A. Lincoln” on the verso of a petition to him. (Washington, DC): 11 January 1862. In full: “Let the prayer of this petition be granted at once unless there be some reason to the contrary not known to me.”