LARGE ENGRAVED MILITARY COMMISSION, 1866, WITH STAMPED SIGNATURES OF JOHNSON AND STANTON
JOHNSON, Andrew and STANTON, Edwin. Document signed (Military Commission). Washington, D.C.: July 17, 1866. Folio, one sheet of vellum measuring 15 by 20 inches, engraved on recto only, finished in manuscript. $1800.
Fine military commission, fully engraved on vellum and finished in manuscript, with stamped signatures of President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.
Career officer Samuel Breck “graduated the United States Military Academy in 1855 and served in the Florida War of 1855-56. He was Assistant Professor of geography, history, and ethics at the Academy in 1860-61. During the Civil War he served as Assistant Adjutant-General of Gen. McDowell’s division in the beginning of 1862… and [later in the year] of the Department of the Rappahannock, being engaged in the occupation of Fredericksburg and the Shenandoah Valley expedition” (Appleton’s). Breck received three brevets for war service (Boatner, 82). From 1870 onward he served in Washington as Assistant Adjutant-General in charge of rolls, returns, and the preparation of the Volunteer Army Register, under General George D. Ruggles, whom in 1897 he succeeded as Adjutant General of the Army with the rank of Brigadier General (New York Times). This engraved commission, fully printed and finished in manuscript, confers upon Breck the rank of Brigadier General (effective March 13, 1865) “for diligent, faithful and meritorious services in the Adjutant General’s Department during the War.” The document bears the stamped signatures of both President Andrew Johnson and Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War. “Stanton was one of the central political figures of the Civil War era and one of the most controversial. His principal role was as chief manager under the president of the Union war effort… and his immense energy and organizational talent made possible the mobilization of the North’s vast resources to achieve victory… Stanton’s strongest commitment was to preserve the Union, and his tenacious efforts during the early stages of Reconstruction to sustain the army and reverse President Johnson’s policy of leniency toward the former Confederates did much to redeem the sacrifices of the war” (ANB). With manuscript signature of Assistant Adjutant General E.D. Townsend (the marginal annotation, in another hand, “Recorded Volume 4, page 160, Adjutant General’s Office, July 14, 1866”). With large ornamental vignettes of the American Eagle at top and military flags and regalia at bottom. Embossed paper seal affixed.
A fine engraved document, suitable for framing.