Manuscripts from the soldiers who fought the bloodiest war ever fought on American soil - the Civil War.

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Human Aspect

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Manuscripts (67)

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Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 127

Despite being condemned by the Chief Justice and public opinion, Buchanan, unwaveringly trusts in the words of his Secretary of War, James Holt, who wrote that Buchanan's "labors will yet be crowned by the glory that belongs to an enlightened Statesmanship & to an unsullied patriotism."
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At the behest of President Lincoln, General Grant Decline's Lee's Suggestion of Armistice Negotiations

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 147

General Grant obediently replies to Secretary of War Edward Stanton with repeated crossed out protestations that he was not trying to usurp any authority. He had previously written to Stanton to ask if he could accept General Lee's invitation to negotiate an armistice, and had received a rebuke from President Lincoln himself.
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Benjamin Mordecai, Jewish Benefactor of Confederate Cause Honored by the Famed Palmetto Riflemen

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 148

Benjamin Mordecai graciously responds to the soldiers of the Palmetto Riflemen, who had thanked him for his donation.
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In Refusing a Parole, Lincoln Notes That Federal Prisoners Are Being

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 162

Here, Lincoln replies to a request from his wife Mary’s cousin, Lyman Todd, that he cannot "enlarge on parole" a Colonel Smith. Such a thing would set a precedent, he says, upon which nearly all the prisoners held by the Union might act – and this, in the face of how the Confederacy was treating Federal prisoners, is completely unacceptable.
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Union Soldier After Gettysburg:

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 168

A letter from a Jewish Union soldier to his family after the battle of Gettysburg. He lists missing soldiers, and reports the numbers of dead, wounded, and missing. This letter is doubly rare as not only is it from a soldier who survived Gettysburg unscathed, but it is from a Jewish soldier; less than .3% of the soldiers who served were Jewish.
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Jewish Confederates: Letter Regarding Benjamin Mordecai's Support of a Commission for Jacob Valentine

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 181

The secretary to the governor of South Carolina assures Charleston native Benjamin Mordecai that Jacob Valentine would be considered for a commission in service to the state. Mordecai had made possible South Carolina's secession from the Union with a generous donation.
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General Meade: Lee is Just 15 Miles Away and

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 190

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William Tecumseh Sherman Vents Anti-Semitic Prejudices, Discusses Runaway Slaves, & Sketches Total War

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 259

Writing during the war, Sherman casually blames smuggling and theft on Jews. Additionally, he depicts the hatred of the Southern population towards the North, justifying, presumably, his harsh conduct of war.
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From the Gettysburg Battlefield, July 4th, 1863: Union Soldier Hopes

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 299

Writing to his mother on the fourth of July, Private Strouss tells his her that he is alive, unharmed, and although unsure who has won, he hopes that "this Battle will end the war" so that he may return home.
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Jewish General Edward S. Salomon Accepts an Invitation to Meet With His Old Comrades-in-Arms

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 308

Edward S. Salomon was a hero of Gettysburg and Atlanta, rising through the ranks and eventually becoming a Brigadier General. He commanded a Jewish regiment, the 82nd Illinois, and here accepts an invitation "to meet the officers of the late Army of the Cumberland."
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Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 347

Lincoln's Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, pleaded with Lincoln not to go to Petersburg because of great personal risk to the President. Lincoln responds that he had already been to Petersburg with Grant, and plans to go to Richmond, newly fallen, as well. He assures Stanton that he will take care of himself.
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Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 349

A subscriber of Leeser's periodical The Occident beseeches the publicly neutral Leeser to intervene with President Lincoln in order to end the Civil War.
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Ulysses S. Grant Tries to Lose the Anti-Semite Label Engendered to Him by His Infamous “Jew Order”

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 394

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Former President Franklin Pierce Defends Himself Against Treason Charges Brought by William H. Seward

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 422

Franklin Pierce, a public detractor of President Lincoln and of the Union, is charged with being a member of a secret league, intending to overthrow the government. Incensed by the publication of the allegations, Pierce arranges for his old friend, Senator Latham of California, to introduce a resolution demanding that all the correspondence in the matter be submitted to Congress for inquiry.
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Abraham Lincoln Suggests Suffrage for Some Louisiana Blacks: The

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 448

Abraham Lincoln tactfully suggests to the new governor of the freshly freed state of Louisiana, Michael Hahn, that Hahn might grant suffrage for blacks who either fought for the Union or were "very intelligent." This proposal was a very elegant compromise between those who did not want suffrage for blacks and those who did; it also ensured that Lincoln, right before an election, didn't rock the boat too much.
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A Fateful Appointment: Abraham Lincoln Makes William T. Sherman a General

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 566

Shortly after having been part of the Union loss at the Battle of Bull Run, Lincoln, in an effort to encourage the troops, promotes Sherman to General. Sherman would devastate the South and ensure Union victory three years later.
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Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 586

Here, just six days after Abraham Lincoln won the presidency with a scant 40% of the vote, Former President John Tyler laments the election.
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Buchanan Approves Abraham Lincoln’s Ordering Fremont to Rescind His Emancipation Proclamation

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 984

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Account of Execution of Deserters at Beverly Ford Mentions  Rabbi Praying With One of the Condemned Men

Autograph Letter Signed

5 pages

SMC 1026

Captain Jacob Winans writes to his father about the execution of deserters at Beverly Ford, mentioning the presence of a rabbi to pray with one of the convicted soldiers.
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Breathtaking Detailed Eyewitness Account of the Execution of Deserters at Beverly Ford

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1027

This eyewitness account details the chronology of events, or protocol of the execution of deserters at Beverly Ford. Those executed had with them the clergyman of their faith. They "were accompanied by a Catholic priest, a Jewish Rabbi and a Methodist preacher."
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Franklin Pierce on the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the Prelude to Civil War

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 961

President Pierce fears that if the Kansas-Nebraska Bill-which granted the States the right to decide on slavery-would not pass, Civil War would ensue.
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Abraham Lincoln Reacts to Attempted Jail-Break of Confederate POWs on Johnson Island

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1090

This note from Lincoln to the Naval Secretary Gideon Welles instructs him to get a firsthand report about the infamous attempted prison break of Confederate POWs on Johnson's Island.
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Oliver Wendell Holmes: At Fort Stevens, Abraham Lincoln Was Forced to Duck From Enemy Fire

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1106

Associate Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes confirms that during the Civil War, when he was serving as a captain, President Abraham Lincoln came to visit the troops at Fort Stevens, during which they were fired upon. This was the only time in American history a sitting president has exposed himself to combat. President Lincoln was forced to duck from enemy fire.
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Statesman, Political Exile, Attorney, and Queen's Counsel, Judah Benjamin Arranges a Meeting

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1118

Judah P. Benjamin, the Jewish former statesman of different roles in the Confederacy, relocated to England and became a successful barrister there. Four years before he wrote this letter, he obtained the rank of Queen's Counsel, and in order to save his correspondent the trouble, offers to call on her at home, rather than in his offices at the Temple.
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Robert E. Lee, Charmingly, and Piously, Responds to a Young Girl's Gift of Socks in 1865

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1123

Robert E. Lee thanks a little girl for her letter and her gift of socks that he has received upon becoming president of Washington College.
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American Civil War Union General George B. McClellan's Antisemitic Letter

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1124

Returning from Germany to the United States in the 1870s, General George McClellan speaks disparagingly of the Jewish people on board, and his success in distancing himself from the "children of Jacob."
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A Union Officer in the Field Describes the Reaction to News of Abraham Lincoln's Assassination

Autograph Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 1128

Here, an Ohio lieutenant, serving in Alabama, describes how the troops there received, and took, "news of the shocking murder of our president."
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Fresh From His Capture of Vicksburg, Ulysses S. Grant Reports From Gettysburg:

Autograph Letter Signed

4 pages

SMC 1545

General Ulysses S. Grant assures Major General Banks-whose army lay in siege around the Mississippi-with two pieces of news. The first is that he is sending reinforcements. The second is that Major General George Meade defeated General Lee, and was pursuing him.
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Lincoln Asks General Grant as a Friend, for a Favor: Find a Place for His Son, Robert, on His Staff

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1548

In order to broker a compromise between his wife, who had already buried two sons, and Robert Todd, who desperately wished to experience the war, Lincoln writes to Grant, not as President, but as a friend, asking him to find a place on his staff for Robert to serve. Lincoln asks merely for his son to be given a nominal rank and that Lincoln himself, and not the public, would furnish his necessary means.
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Lincoln is

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1554

After just having heard that the union lost 1776 men in the Battle of the Wilderness, amongst other bad news, Lincoln was asked to give a sentiment for an autograph collector, Lincoln replied "I would give a sentiment, but just now I am not in a sentimental mood."
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Millard Fillmore On the Fugitive Slave and Kansas-Nebraska Acts:

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 1069

Though he detested slavery, Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act, which required citizens of Northern free states to return slaves to their Southern owners. He was denounced by politicians who four years later voted for the same rule of law to apply in the Kansas-Nebraska act. Here, he wishes to expose their hypocrisy.
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Millard Fillmore on Civil War: Abolitionists Pervert Cause and Lincoln Tempts Tyranny

Autograph Letter Signed

3 pages

SMC 1767

Millard Fillmore accuses abolitionists of "destroying the Constitution" and attempting to "prevent a reunion of the states," in addition to "perverting this war into a war for emancipation."
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General Benjamin Butler: The Jews

Autograph Letter Signed

1 page

SMC 2182

General Butler, discussing the arrest of two Jewish blockade-runners, displays his notorious anti-Semitism.
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Contemporary Copy of Chase's Letter to Abraham Lincoln in Support of General Hunter's Emancipation Order

Letter Signed

2 pages

SMC 501

Salomon P. Chase, President Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, was the most ardent abolitionist in Lincoln's cabinet. Here, he praises General Hunter's declaration of emancipation of all slaves in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.
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President Abraham Lincoln Appoints Jewish West Pointer Alfred Mordecai Jr. Second Lieutenant

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 445

President Abraham Lincoln appoints Alfred Mordecai Jr. a Second Lieutenant four months into the Civil War. Mordecai would climb the ranks and die a general.
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Dr. Jacob de Silva Solis Cohen: A Scarce Civil War Autograph

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 307

Promotion of war hero Lt. Commander James Kelsey Cogswell to Commander; signed by William McKinley on the first day of his second term as president.
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Jewish Colonel Max Friedman Certifies an Enlistment into the Cameron Dragoons

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 166

Jewish Colonel Max Friedman Certifies the enlistment of Joshua Pickering into the Cameron Dragoons, a largely Jewish regiment.
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Simon Wolf's Original Contract For the Book

Document Signed

3 pages

SMC 109

This contract between author and scholar Simon Wolf, and publisher and editor Louis E. Levy, is a seminal document of a seminal work, The American Jew as Patriot, Soldier and Citizen, first published in 1895 and still in print, and use, over one hundred years later.
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Abraham Lincoln Appoints Henry Ernest Goodman as Surgeon of Civil War Union Volunteer Army

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 160

President Abraham Lincoln promotes the eminent and beloved physician, Henry Ernest Goodman, of Philadelphia, from assistant surgeon to surgeon. Edward Stanton, the Secretary of war, co-signed the document.
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Abraham Lincoln's Appointment of Benjamin F. Isherwood, the Creator of the Steam Navy

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1081

Benjamin Isherwood designed steamboats that would quickly outrun blockade runners. Isherwood expanded the US Navy's fleet from 28 to 600 steam vessels in the course of the Civil War. Here, President Abraham Lincoln appoints Isherwood Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.
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Abraham Lincoln's Order That Sparked the New York City Draft Riots of 1863

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1084

Abraham Lincoln's draft order for the state of New York, which sparked riots and racially-motivated violence and murders. It was the second largest civil insurrection in American history.
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Jewish Confederate Hero Alexander Hart Grants Leave to Officers During a Brief Lull in the Civil War

Document Signed

2 pages

SMC 1642

Alexander Hart, a storied and battle-proven Major in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, directs and signs off on thirty-day leaves for officers.
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H.C. Corbin, Who Established Policy of Religious Furloughs for Jewish Soldiers, Postbellum Army Documents

Document Signed

4 pages

SMC 1619

Collection of documents signed by Henry C. Corbin, who, as Assistant Adjutant General during the Spanish-American War, established the policy that religious furloughs were to be granted freely to Jewish men in uniform.
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Dr. Jacob Da Silva Solis Cohen Certifies the 1864 Death of a

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1132

Here J. Solis Cohen certifies the death of a former slave in Philadelphia, identifying him as a "Contraband": a legally complicated and politically fraught designation indicating a "self-emancipated" human chattel, many of whom, as the Union armies moved in the South, rushed toward the advancing troops, there to join the ranks of their liberators.
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John Tyler, as President of the 1861 Washington Peace Convention, Certifies a Vermont Delegate

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1048

President John Tyler, who would eventually support the secession of the Southern states, certifies Lucius Chittenden of Vermont, as a delegate from that state, in the failed 1861 Washington Peace Convention. Chittenden took it upon himself to take the minutes of the Conference and indeed, published them three years later.
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John Tyler, as President of the 1861 Washington Peace Convention, Certifies a Delegate From Massachusetts

Document Signed

1 page

SMC 1050

President John Tyler, who would eventually support the secession of the Southern states, certifies Charles Allen of Massachusetts as a delegate from that state, in the failed 1861 Washington Peace Convention.
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Carte-de-Visite of Abolitionist Crusader Rabbi David Einhorn

Carte de Visite

1 page

SMC 1764

This photograph was taken in Baltimore, where the German rabbi had his first American congregation, and where he eventually had to flee for his life due to his outspoken opposition to slavery. He would never return.
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Abraham Lincoln's Check to His Son, Robert Lincoln, to Equip Him For Service Under Grant

Check Signed

1 page

SMC 456

Check from Abraham Lincoln to his son, Robert Todd Lincoln. The president had finally allowed his son to serve in the war, and made sure he was sent to General Grant. This check was to ensure that his son was properly kitted out for war.
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Broadside

1 page

SMC 625

South Carolina proclaims it has dissolved its bonds to the United States, becoming the first state to secede.
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Abraham Lincoln Swears That He Shall Not Retract or Modify the Emancipation Proclamation

Autograph Quotation Signed

1 page

SMC 455

At the request of Henry C. Wright of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, Lincoln vows to not retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation.
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Harper's Weekly With Illustrated Story About Five Union Soldiers, Including a Jew, Executed for Desertion

Ephemera

3 pages

SMC 650

Original Harper's Weekly for September 26, 1863 about the execution of five Union deserters at Beverly Ford; with illustrations.
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An Anti-Copperhead Broadside Denouncing Former President Franklin Pierce as a Traitor

Ephemera

1 page

SMC 976

The Copperheads were northern Democrats who blamed the abolitionists for the Civil War and wished to see Lincoln and the Republicans ousted from power. This broadside is a Republican plea to voters to ponder-and ultimately reject-the traitorous nature of the Copperheads and their ringleader, Franklin Pierce. Shortly after this broadside appeared, Lincoln was victorious in his reelection campaign.
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Lincoln Interjects Himself Into a Case of Two Jewish Merchants Charged With Selling Goods to Blockaders

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 1038

Meyer and Philip Wallach were Jewish brothers who were charged with selling goods to blockaders and were held at an infamous prison for Confederate officers. Here, President Lincoln protects them by ordering the head of the prison to keep them in his custody - to neither send them away or allow them to be transferred.
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Lincoln Would be Glad to See General Milroy but knows

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 570

Abraham Lincoln gracefully sidesteps a meeting with the problematic General Milroy, who was arrested for losing half of his troops. Milroy railed against his superiors, who jailed him for his actions, and continuously pestered Lincoln for his release and restoration to command.
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The Day He Dies, Lincoln Writes a Pass to Richmond for Wife of the Doctor Who Would Attend His Death-Bed

Autograph Note Signed

1 page

SMC 575

Lincoln issues a pass for Mrs. Alice Stone to travel to Richmond; by that night her husband, the Lincoln family physician, would be attending at Lincoln’s deathbed.
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Three Days Before He is Assassinated, Abraham Lincoln Orders the Discharge of a Sickly Boy from the Army

Autograph Note Signed

4 pages

SMC 211

Three days before he will be shot and killed, Lincoln responds to a friend’s letter beseeching his help in arranging the discharge of a sickly boy from the army.
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Abraham Lincoln Queries the Surgeon General of the Army About an Appointment

Autograph Endorsement Signed

1 page

SMC 209

Lincoln asks William Alexander Hammond, the Surgeon General of the Union Army if a Mr. Bushnell should be appointed be appointed. Hammond replies in the affirmative, as there is a place for Bushnell at Louisville.
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Jewish Civil War Union Surgeon Morris Asch Rules on Another Surgeon's Exorbitant Bill

Autograph Endorsement Signed

6 pages

SMC 157

A Dr. McCoy, accused by the Surgeon General of charging exorbitantly for emergency services rendered, has had his bill cut in half. Asch rejects McCoy's appeal, and upholds the decision to reduce the bill.
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Millard Fillmore Asks Lincoln for a Favor; On the Back of the Letter, Lincoln Takes Steps to Oblige Him

Autograph Endorsement Signed

1 page

SMC 1065

Former President Fillmore asks President Lincoln to intercede on behalf of his nephew, a disgraced lieutenant. On the verso of the letter, Lincoln takes steps to oblige Fillmore, but ultimately did not intervene in the case.
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Abraham Lincoln Exercises Clemency:

Autograph Endorsement Signed

1 page

SMC 1811

Abraham Lincoln directs the release of "this boy" who had enlisted in the Union Army and received the standard bonus. Whether the boy was underage, AWOL, or a bounty-jumper(one of many who signed up for the enlistment bonus and then deserted) is unknown.
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An Early Civil War Treatise on Gunshot Wounds By Surgeon General P.J. Horowitz

Autograph Document Signed

6 pages

SMC 1639

P.J. Horwitz, a Baltimore Jew appointed Surgeon General of the Navy, describes in detail the variety of gunshot wounds, and their treatment, early in the Civil War, as most surgeons had not yet encountered gunshot wounds.
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Abraham Lincoln: A December 8 Oath of Allegiance

Autograph Document Signed

1 page

SMC 352

The Oath of December 8 was announced by Lincoln, on that day, in his annual message to congress in 1863. He would offer a pardon to any man who would swear, without coercion, his allegiance to the Union.
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Excessively Rare

Historical artifacts

1 page

SMC 864

Possibly the only surviving sutler token from the trading post at Fort Sill.
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Alexander Hart's Civil War Sword and Scabbard, Presented Upon His Promotion to Captain

Historical artifacts

3 pages

SMC 255

Sword and Scabbard of Alexander Hart, a religious Jewish haberdasher who led the 5th Louisiana Infantry.
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Civil War 25-Cent Sutler Token From L. Goldheim of J.E.B Stuart's 1st Virginia Cavalry

Historical artifacts

1 page

SMC 2234

Lazarus Goldheim 25-cent token: Goldheim, hailing from Baltimore, was the sutler for the 1st Virginia Cavalry, one of the Confederacy's most celebrated fighting units.
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50 Cent Civil War Sutler Token of Jewish Sutler and Abraham Lincoln Friend, Henry Rice

Historical artifacts

1 page

SMC 2242

This Civil War Sutler token, at 50 cents, is the largest denomination of sutler currency issued during the war. This token was issued by Henry Rice, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, who would come to endorse Abraham Lincoln as a young lawyer, remain friends with Lincoln throughout his career, and even to offer to make his inaugural suit.
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A Rare Artifact Associated With 1862 Battlefield Passover Seder: A G.W. Forbes Civil War Sutler's Token

Historical artifacts

1 page

SMC 1529

Token of the Jewish sutler G.W. Forbes, who brought matzahs for his coreligionists of the Ohio 23rd regiment to celebrate the seder in 1862.
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