1863 NAVAL APPOINTMENT, SIGNED BY ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS PRESIDENT
LINCOLN, Abraham. Engraved document signed. Washington: February 21, 1863. Single vellum sheet (14-1/2 by 17 inches), partially printed and finished in a secretarial hand, embossed orange paper seal, floated and framed, entire piece measures 21 by 24 inches. $19,800.
Splendid Lincoln Civil War document appointing Francis M. Bunce a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy, countersigned by Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, with fragile paper seal present, handsomely framed.
Bunce was promoted while serving aboard the sloop-of-war USS Pawnee, then enforcing a naval blockade off the Stono River in South Carolina. In the winter of 1863 he oversaw the sounding, buoying, and the removal of obstructions in the interior channels between Stono River and Morris Island in the outer reaches of Charleston Harbor. During this time he became an aide to Brigadier General Quincy A. Gillmore, and oversaw the disembarkation of five regiments through these cleared channels. He then commanded the naval portion of an attack on Morris Island that resulted in part of the island's capture. For his effort he received an honorable mention in the report on the action by Commander George Balch and Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. Bunce was then appointed to the USS Patapsco and participated in the siege of Charleston in 1863, and the September 8-9 attack on Fort Sumter, where he again received an honorable mention in the commander's report. In November 1863, Bunce was injured aboard the Patapsco while engaging with Confederate forces and was dispatched to the USS Wabash to convalesce. In 1864 he was assigned to the staff of Dahlgren, who was commanding South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, and took command of the monitor USS Lehigh. His final act of service during the Civil War saw him transferred to the monitor USS Dictator under the command of Commodore John Rodgers, that patrolled the east coast of the United States from December, 1864, until the end of the war.
Bunce served with distinction during his 40-plus year career in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of Rear Admiral, in 1898. A graduate of one of the earliest classes of the United States Naval Academy in 1857, he gained attention for his service during the Civil War where he served in various roles and assisted in the Union Army's naval blockade of the Confederate States. Immediately after the war, he commanded the USS Monadnock around the treacherous Cape Horn on a voyage to California, the first long distance deployment of an ironclad monitor. Also, he at various points took command of the Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York Navy Yards, as well as commanded several gunboats, cruisers, and sloops-of-war. His leadership as commander-in-chief of the North Atlantic Squadron from 1895-97 saw the fleet modernized into an effective combat unit that would successfully defeat the Spanish Navy during the Spanish-American War in 1898. As Commodore and Commandant of the Navy Yard in New York, he released the famous USS Maine on its voyage to Havana. This commission is handsomely engraved with military vignettes, one of an emblematic eagle and another of sailing images featuring Neptune with his trident.
Fold lines and minor wrinkling. Lincoln signature quite bold. Near-fine, handsomely framed.