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Item 428 - Abraham Lincoln: Gen. Thomas H. Neill Catalog 412 (Jul 2013)

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(we are no longer accepting bids on this item)
Minimum Bid: $1,500.00
Sold Price: $23,644.80 (includes buyer's premium)

Description


Pennsylvania native Thomas Hewson Neill graduated from West Point in 1847 and immediately set sail to join the Fifth Infantry in the Mexican-American War. He remained there until the end of the war, at which time he returned to the US and served on the frontier until the outbreak of the Civil War. Early in the war, he was made colonel of the 23rd Pennsylvania Infantry, which he led in the Peninsula Campaign and the Seven Days Battles. He continued in the Maryland Campaign, the First and Second Battles of Fredericksburg, and the Chancellorsville Campaign, suffering two notable injuries.

In April of 1863, Lincoln appointed Neill Brigadier General of Volunteers, at which time he joined the army’s reserve in the Battle of Gettysburg. He commanded the 3d Brigade, Second Division, VI Corps alongside Henry Slocum's XII Corps on Wolf Hill at the extreme right of the Union lines. On the morning of July 3, the brigade took part in the assault on Edward Johnson's division of Richard Ewell's corps to retake the rifle pits lost the evening before. He led John Baillie McIntosh's cavalry brigade, his own brigade and some artillery in the pursuit of the Confederate army toward Fairfield Gap beginning on July 5, 1863. Following Gettysburg, Neill remained active in the military.

After the war, Neill reverted to regular service as a major in the infantry, continuing on to become commander of the 6th Calvary. He was present at General Custer’s funeral, witnessing the fallen hero’s burial at the West Point Cemetery in 1877. After serving as the commandant of cadets at West Point for four years, Neill finally retired in 1883.

This military collection consists of documentation chronicling Neill’s distinguished military career, from his West Point graduation in 1847 to his cavalry saber he wore while in service in 1879, including five promotions by President Andrew Johnson—noting gallant service at Malvern Hill and Spottsylvania—and the incredibly scarce appointment as Brigadier General issued by Lincoln just three months before Gettysburg.

Two hardcover West Point text books: Elementary Treatise on the Forms of Cannon & Various Systems of Artillery, 1832; and Civil Engineering.

Neill’s diploma from the United States Military Academy at West Point. Ornate engraved degree measures 17.5 x 20.25, is dated June 23, 1847, and states “Be it known that Cadet Thomas H. Neill of the State of Pennsylvania having been carefully examined on all the Branches of the Arts, Sciences, and of Literature taught at the United States Military Academy has been judged worthy to receive the degree required by Law preparatory to his advancement in the U. States Army.” Signed at the conclusion by 11 instructors. Rolled.

Neill’s membership certificate to the United States Military Academy’s Dialectic Society, one vellum page, 19.25 x 15, June 12, 1847. Certificate states “Thomas H. Neill…is entitled to all the rights and privileges of an honorary member of the Dialectic Society.” Bottom bears a secretarial signature of the society’s president, Ambrose Burnside. Rolled.

Partly-printed vellum DS, signed as President, “Millard Fillmore,” one page, 14.5 x 19, August 26, 1850. Neill’s appointment to serve as “First Lieutenant in the Fifth Regiment of Infantry,” signed at the conclusion by Fillmore and countersigned by Secretary of War Charles Conrad. The white wafer seal is intact.

Partly-printed vellum DS, signed as President, “James Buchanan,” one page, 15.75 x 19.5, February 6, 1858. Buchanan appoints Neill a “Captain in the Fifth Regiment of Infantry.” Signed at the conclusion by Buchanan and countersigned by Secretary of War John B. Floyd. The light blue seal is crisp and intact.

War-dated partly printed vellum DS, signed as President, “Abraham Lincoln,” one page, 14.5 x 19.25, April 15, 1863. Neill’s appointment as Brigadier General of Volunteers, signed at the conclusion by Lincoln and countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Framed to an overall size of 16.5 x 21.25. The blue seal is crisp and intact.

Partly-printed vellum DS, bearing a stamped signature of President Andrew Johnson, one page, 15.75 x 19, May 25, 1866. Neill is promoted to “the rank of Major General by Brevet…for gallant and meritorious services during the war.” Johnson’s stamp is at the bottom and document is countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The blue seal is slightly worn, but intact. The handwritten portions of the document are very light, but still legible. Rolled.

Partly-printed vellum DS, bearing a stamped signature of President Andrew Johnson, one page, 15.5 x 19.25, September 10, 1866, promoting Neill to “the rank of Lieutenant Colonel by Brevet…for gallant and meritorious service at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia.” Johnson’s stamp is at the bottom and documentis countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. Framed to an overall size of 17.5 x 21. The blue seal is crisp and intact.

Partly-printed vellum DS, bearing a stamped signature of President Andrew Johnson, one page, 15.5 x 19.25, September 10, 1866, promoting Neill to “the rank of Colonel by Brevet…for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Spottsylvania, Virginia. Johnson’s stamp is at the bottom and document is countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The blue seal is slightly worn, but intact. Rolled.

Partly-printed vellum DS, bearing a stamped signature of President Andrew Johnson, one page, 15.5 x 19.25, September 10, 1866, promoting Neill to “the rank of Major by Brevet…for gallant and meritorious services at the battle of Malvern Hill, Virginia. Johnson’s stamp is at the bottom and document is countersigned by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The blue seal is slightly worn, but intact. Rolled.

Partly-printed vellum DS, bearing a stamped signature of president Andrew Johnson, one page, 15.5 x 19.5, July 30, 1866. Neill is promoted to “the rank of Brigadier General…for gallant and meritorious service in the field during the war.” Stamped at the bttom and countersigend by Secretary of War Edwin Stanton. The blue seal is crisp and intact. Rolled.

Neill’s U. S. Army Cavalry Saber. Sabre has a 34″ blade with etched panels of military motifs on both sides, with “Springfield, Armory, Springfield, Mass” on the ricasso. The blade shows scattered light pitting. The wire-wrapped shark skin is in fine condition as well as the brass guard. The steel scabbard is also in fine condition, with no dings or nicks.

Collection rates from very good to fine, with expected light wear to documents, and toning and foxing to books. RR Auction COA.

Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.


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