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Autograph, General John B. McPherson

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Your Price: $ 950.00
Item Number: Auto5217
 

 



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Graduated #1 in the West Point class of 1853

Killed in the Atlanta campaign in July 1864 bringing commanding General William T. Sherman to tears!

Very rare circa 1862 Mobile & Ohio Railroad document signed as Brigadier General


(1828-64) He was born in Clyde, Ohio, and graduated #1 in the West Point class of 1853, a class which included future Civil War generals' Philip H. Sheridan, John M. Schofield and John Bell Hood. After graduation McPherson was commissioned brevet second lieutenant and he was appointed to the Corps of Engineers. For a year after his graduation, he was assistant instructor of engineering at West Point, a position never before given to so young an officer. From 1854 to 1857, McPherson was the assistant engineer upon the defenses of New York harbor, and the improvement of the Hudson River. In 1857, he was superintendent of the building of Fort Delaware, and in 185761 he was superintending engineer of the construction of the defenses of Alcatraz Island, at San Francisco, California, and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1858. In 1859, while in San Francisco, he met Emily Hoffman, a woman from a prominent merchant family in Baltimore who had come to California to help care for her sister's children. She soon became engaged to McPherson and a wedding was planned, but ultimately was put off by the onset of the Civil War.

At the outbreak of the rebellion, he requested a position on the staff of General Henry W. Halleck, one of the senior commanders in the west. Promoted to captain, on August 6, 1861, he was sent to St. Louis, Missouri, serving under General Halleck as his aide-de-camp, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. McPherson's career began rising after this assignment, as he was the Chief Engineer in General Ulysses S. Grant's army during the capture of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tenn., February 1862. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 15, 1862, and served as military superintendent of the railroads in western Tennessee. On October 8th, he was promoted to major general and was soon after given command of the 17th Corps in General Grant's Army of the Tennessee. He saw service at Shiloh, Corinth and Vicksburg, and on March 26, 1864, he was given command of the Army of the Tennessee which he led in the subsequent campaign in northern Georgia. Eleven years after their graduation, now Confederate General John Bell Hood opposed General McPherson before Atlanta, and Hood's battle order would result in the death of his old friend and classmate. McPherson was killed before Atlanta on July 22, 1864. General William T. Sherman's tears rolled through his beard and down on the floor when he viewed the dead body of his friend laid upon a door torn from its hinges and improvised as a bier.

Confederate General John Bell Hood, wrote of his old friend McPherson's death:

"I will record the death of my classmate and boyhood friend, General James B. McPherson, the announcement of which caused me sincere sorrow. Since we had graduated in 1853, and had each been ordered off on duty in different directions, it has not been our fortune to meet. Neither the years nor the difference of sentiment that had led us to range ourselves on opposite sides in the war had lessened my friendship; indeed the attachment formed in early youth was strengthened by my admiration and gratitude for his conduct toward our people in the vicinity of Vicksburg. His considerate and kind treatment of them stood in bright contrast to the course pursued by many Federal officers."

General William T. Sherman openly wept upon the death of General McPherson, and penned a letter to Emily Hoffman, McPherson fiance in Baltimore, stating:

"My Dear Young Lady, A letter from your Mother to General Barry on my Staff reminds me that I owe you heartfelt sympathy and a sacred duty of recording the fame of one of our Country's brightest and most glorious Characters. I yield to none on Earth but yourself the right to excel me in lamentations for our Dead Hero. Why should death's darts reach the young and brilliant instead of older men who could better have been spared?"

McPherson was the second-highest-ranking Union officer to be killed in action during the war, the highest being General John Sedgwick. Miss Hoffman never recovered from his death, living a quiet and lonely life until her death in 1891.

War Period Document Signed With Rank: 14 x 8 1/4, imprinted form filled out and signed in ink. Payment Roll for laborers on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Beautifully signed at the left edge, next to imprint, "Examined And Found Correct, "Jas. B. McPherson, Brig. Genl. & Supt." This document is circa 1862, as General McPherson only held the rank of Brigadier General for a very brief period of time in 1862. McPherson was appointed to rank of brigadier general on May 15, 1862, and at that time was the superintendent of the military railroads in the district of West Tennessee in June. On October 8, 1862, he was promoted to major general for conspicuous gallantry at the Battle of Corinth, Mississippi. That means this document had to be signed by General McPherson sometime during the narrow window between May 15, 1862, and October 8, 1862. There is a docket on the reverse, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Hon. Payment Roll, Rail Road Equipage. Extremely desirable, and very rare war period signed document of General James B. McPherson.



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