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409   George Stoneman  $300 Unopened $300 0 You must login to place a bid.
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#409 - George Stoneman Estimate: $3,500+

The Union’s highest-ranking “Pr of War” seeks supplies: “Our poor fellows here, many of whom are entirely destitute, would be most happy”

Union cavalry officer (1822-1894) who was later elected the governor of California; during the Civil War, he was captured during a July 1864 attempt to free prisoners from the infamous Andersonville prison, becoming the Union army's highest-ranking prisoner of war. Civil War-dated ALS, signed "George Stoneman, Maj. Gen'l, Pr of War," one page both sides, 8 x 9.75, Mily Prison, Charleston, South Carolina, September 16, 1864. Letter to adjutant of the Sanitary Commission. In full: "I am informed by Gen'l Jones that he will receive and allow the prisoners of war to receiving sanitary stores and clothing whenever Gen'l Foster 'thinks proper to send them.' If you have any stores or clothing in hand for distribution our poor fellows here, many of whom are entirely destitute, would be most happy to receive them, and I know of no way in which the generosity of their relatives and friends can be better applied than in relieving the unfortunate Fed-prisoners now confined in this city. Should you think proper to make me your agent I will see that everything is properly applied and that the most needy and destitute are first supplied, which is not always the case. Gen'l Foster informs me that you have 'a large lot of clothing' and which you will send to Charleston if Gen'l Jones will receive them, which he says he will do an the prisoners here are anxiously expecting them." Stoneman adds a brief postscript at the conclusion: "Will Gen'l Foster please forward this to its proper destination and oblige many prisoners." Attractively triple-matted and framed with the back visible to an overall size of 21.5 x 15.5, hinged onto a lovely triple-matted display featuring two images and descriptive plaque, framed to an overall size of 28.5 x 34.5. In very good to fine condition, with small bits of paper loss along the multiple intersecting folds, and a central band of toning to the first page.

By the summer of 1864, the population at Andersonville prison grew to over 33,000 inmates—overcrowded, severely lacking in food and medical supplies, and fighting against horrendous sanitary conditions, hundreds of prisoners were dying daily. In late July, having almost completely surrounded Atlanta, General Sherman sent Stoneman to destroy the railroads in Macon, hoping to cut off the Confederate supply lines. When given his assignment, he requested permission to—if successful—move east and attempt to release the prisoners at Andersonville. After a chaotic and disorganized effort to cut off Macon, Stoneman and his aide were captured on July 31, 1864. He was exchanged at General Sherman's specific request in October 1864 for Confederate Brigadier General Daniel C. Govan and returned to duty. Written during his brief period as prisoner of war, this letter is characteristic of Stoneman's concern for his fellow man—because of the poor conditions at Andersonville, he volunteered for the risky task of freeing them, and, upon encountering a similar state once held captive himself, he aimed to obtain supplies for the other prisoners.

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