On the Last Full Day of His Life, Abraham Lincoln Makes an Important Appointment

Document Signed
1 page
SMC 878
If, as had been noted, Lincoln appeared weary and sad the day he signed this appointment, the next day – in the words of the document’s co-signer, Treasury Secretary McCulloch - he never seemed more cheerful and happy.

Yet the difference between those days was scant. On both, Lincoln was concerned with the reestablishment of federal authority in the just defeated South and on both, for a few minutes at least, he had occasion to think about his old friend William Kellogg. On April 13, 1865, Lincoln appointed him, with this document, to the plum post of Collector at the Port of New Orleans – from which he would dispense patronage for all Louisiana. The next day, he met briefly with Kellogg in the Executive Mansion, and cautioned he take discretion and care.

As important, and ultimately explosive, as the appointment of Kellogg would prove, the greater significance of this document is the date alone. April 13, 1865 was the last full day of Lincoln’s life. And, then, too, there is this: on the 14th, Kellogg, having heard from the Secretary of the Treasury that his commission had been sent to the Executive Mansion, went there to fetch it. Lincoln, however, was out riding with Mary, and so Kellogg waited until early evening, when the President returned. “Mr. Lincoln,” he recalled, “was in his room, signing papers. With a few words, to be careful and discreet … he bade me goodbye.” Lincoln then saw another visitor, and finally, through for the day, he left for Ford’s Theatre, and the bullet which would end his life.
Document Signed, as President, partially-printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 page, oblong folio, Washington, April 13, 1865; being the appointment of William Kellogg as Collector of the Port of New Orleans. Co-signed by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch.

Of great rarity on this date.
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