Auctions | February 22, 2012

Civil War Autograph & Artifact Auction Next Month

AMHERST, NH -- RR Auction is proud to announce their first Civil War auction in March. This compelling array of more than 450 items that offer an intensely comprehensive look into some of the key figures in our country’s most bloody conflict; letters, photos, and exemplary artifacts meld together to tell the harrowing story of our nation’s most defining war. Esteemed notables such as Abraham Lincoln, U. S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, “Stonewall” Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Mary Todd Lincoln, and the assassin who sealed the crushing, woeful fate of one of America’s most beloved presidents, John Wilkes Booth, have all been drawn together, once again, to tell their story.

While the nation watched, helpless and desperate, as countless sons and daughters were swallowed up by the atrocities of war, tragedy of the starkest kind struck the White House; Willie Lincoln succumbed to typhoid fever. Devastation overcame the Lincolns, and, accompanied by its black-bordered mailing envelope, addressed in Mary Todd’s own hand and free-franked by president “A. Lincoln,” the First Lady expresses the overwhelming grip that has clutched her family in a letter dated May 5, 1862.

After the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, the nation was plunged head-long into the grueling war between the states. Just six days after that fateful attack, Jefferson Davis, the newly-appointed Provisional President of the Confederate States, writes in gratitude on April 18, 1861, acknowledging the support of South Carolina’s leading role as the first secessionist state: “I have the pleasure of receiving your letter of the 9th inst enclosing a copy of a Resolution, passed by the Convention of the people of South Carolina.”

The greatest military tactician of the Civil War, Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, exacted his terror on Union forces through this very battle order, dispatched to General Richard Ewell, stating, “This will place you within two days march of either Swift Run Gap or Fisherville Gap. You had better have five days rations with you…The move in Fredericksburg was probably designed to prevent reinforcements being sent to me.” This genius maneuver enabled Ewell to mislead Union forces, allowing for Jackson’s undetected strike on the unsuspecting Yankee troops, resulting in Jackson’s first victory of the campaign.

As the creation of carte-de-visite photographs emerged during the Civil War era, people became obsessed with collecting those of presidents and other celebrities, making the acquisition and display of such images an immensely popular phenomenon. Robert E. Lee, Commanding Officer of all Confederate forces, made a practice of mainly signing half-bust carte-de-visite photos of himself, rarely ever laying a pen to full-length portraits. But the general made an exception, signing a larger, oval Vannerson image, featuring a rare, full pose of Lee in dress uniform and presentation sword, which he signed “R. E. Lee” for the admiring ladies of Baltimore, Maryland. Another exceptional photo, a traditional carte-de-visite widely heralded as one of the greatest of the president, captures Lincoln seated at a table with a copy of the Washington Daily Morning Chronicle in hand, boldly signed, “A. Lincoln,” compliments of skilled photographer, Alexander Gardner.

John Wilkes Booth, the ultimate performer, both on and off stage, pens a gorgeously large and florid signature on a letter written to Joseph Simonds, a man who would later be implicated as an unkowing partner in a Lincoln kidnapping plot. Speaking of his current theatre tour in November of 1861, Booth reference’s Lincoln’s favorite actress, Maggie Mitchell: “After here Monday night, 25th, they count high on me but I am doubtful as to my success. Maggie Mitchel is playing a good engagement here.” Booth made no attempts to hide his vehement disdain for Lincoln and his war on slavery, and after carrying out the heinous assassination on April 14,1865, he took his performance to the stage of the Ford Theatre, exclaiming “Sic semper tyrannis! The South is avenged!”
This exceptional arrangement of Confederate and Union memorabilia, including pieces from George Custer, J. E. B. Stuart, William T. Sherman, and George B. McClellan, plus an array of uncommon Civil War-era weapons and other artifacts will be available for bidding March 15 - March 22. A preview will be available beginning Friday, March 24th. For additional details, go to

For more than 30 years, RR Auction has offered collectors more than 1,250 quality, fully guaranteed signed items each month, including photos, documents, letters, and books from a variety of categories.