1864 Abraham Lincoln Signature with 1861 Portrait by John Chester Buttre

This is an original document signed by Abraham Lincoln as President, dated July 1, 1864. The document is a partly-printed official document appointing future Union major general Christopher C. Augur to Lieutenant Colonel of the 12th Regiment Infantry, of the U.S. Army. The appointment is countersigned by Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

The document reads:

The President of the United Stated of America, To all who shall see these presents greetings:  
Know Ye; That reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, valor, fidelity, and abilities of Christopher C. Augur, I have nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, do appoint him Lieutenant Colonel of the Twelfth Regiment of Infantry in the service of the United States: to rank as such from the first day of July eighteen hundred and Sixty Four. He is therefore carefully and diligently to be discharged the duty of Lieutenant Colonel by doing and performing all manner of things thereunto belonging.
And I do strictly charge, and require all Officers and Soldiers under his command to be obedient to his orders as Lieutenant Colonel And he is to observe and follow such orders and directions, from time to time, as he shall receive them from me or the future President of the United States of America, of the General, or other superior Officers set over him, according to the rules and discipline of War. This Commission to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States for the time being.
Given under my hand, at the City of Washington, this First day of July in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and Sixty four and in the Eighty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States.
By the President, Abraham Lincoln
M. Stanton, Secretary of War.


Prominently engraved at top is a stunning spread eagle. The eagle’s right talon clutches an olive branch. The eagle's left (sinister) talon holds a bundle of crossed arrows. When Charles Thomson put together the final design for the Great Seal, the official description describes the bald eagle holding "in his sinister, a bundle of thirteen arrows." The thirteen arrows are tightly aligned – a symbol of "strength in unity" that can be found in traditional cultures everywhere, from the Romans to the Iroquois. In this case, the bundle is a nod to the unity of the original thirteen colonies.

The document is further decorated with a patriotic vignette at bottom; a striking amassing of American flags, rifles, liberty cap, swords, drum, and trumpet rests on a grassy field. A blue War office seal is affixed at top left. In the top left corner is an inscribed record of the Military Secretary, Adjunct Generals Office. The record reads, “July, 1864.”

Christopher C. Augur (1821-1898) was an American military officer, noted for his Civil War action. Within the first four months of the Civil War, Augur was made Commandant of Cadets at West Point, would soon be appointed by Lincoln a major general. He would later command at Fredericksburg and Cedar Mountain, where he was severely wounded, and also the Army of the Gulf with distinction during the siege of Port Hudson. Augur was brevetted first to Brigadier General in the United States Army on March 13, 1865, for his meritorious service during the Post Hudson Campaign and then, on the same date, brevetted to Major General for his service during the war. 

On April 14, 1865 Augur was one of the Army officers who were present at the Petersen House where the mortally wounded President Lincoln was taken after he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. At Stanton’s request, Augur located a stenographer to take notes as Stanton interviewed witnesses. Augur was also instrumental in mobilizing troops to pursue and eventually capture Booth and his co-conspirators, including the detachment that tracked down and killed Booth. Augur served as the lead escort in processions with Lincoln's body from the Peterson House and the White House.

Framed next to the signed appointment is an original 1861 mezzotint of Abraham Lincoln, by J. C. Buttre. This superb, full-length commanding portrait of the President is one of several John Chester Buttre portraits of Lincoln. Buttre using contemporary photographs as his primary source for his Lincoln portraits, finishing the portraits with neoclassical elements like marble hallways and pillars, tables lofted high with piles of books, and stately furniture. In this portrait, Lincoln is leaning on a scrolled page that reads "Constitutional Freedom". 


The signed appointment is in very good condition, consistent with age and gentle use. The paper is healthy, with fold lines still present. A fold horizontally bisects Lincoln's signature. Another fold horizontally bisects the blue Presidential seal. Seal shows some surface wear and loss to bottom edges, but is remarkably fully attached. There are light stains on bottom paper margin. The document measures 15.25 x 10.5 inches. 

Lincoln’s signature is incredibly crisp and in black ink. Stanton’s signature is also in black ink, and in good condition 

The Presidential appointment and etching have been artfully housed in a custom rubbed black wooden frame, with linen top mats and windows cut to display each item. They have been framed to highest conservation standards, with acid-free mats and backing and UV conservation clear glass.

Framed dimensions: 35"H x 50" W x 2"D.

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