Lot 446: ALS signed "Jno. Pope," one page, 7.75 x 9.75, embossed Headquarters Department of the Lakes, Detroit, Michigan letterhead, January 29, 1869. Pope writes to General Irwin McDowell, in part: "I send enclosed a printed copy of my letter to Genl Grant in relation to the attempt of Fitzjohn Porter to have his case reopened—I have written at Atlanta Go. where I had not the reports of the Rebel officers &…which reports therefore I was obliged to quote from memory—I do not know the present condition of the case nor whether it will be revived during the present Administration." In very good condition, with intersecting folds, light creasing and toning, and faint ink mirroring from premature folding.On January 10, 1863, Major General Fitz-John Porter was court-martialed for his actions during the Second Battle of Manassas. Pope had blamed Porter for his defeat, calling the officer "insubordinate," and preferred court-martial charges against the general. Embarrassed by Pope's failure and furious that McClellan opted not to pursue Lee in Virginia after Antietam, the Lincoln administration used the court-martial proceedings to save face. Charged with with disobeying orders and misconduct, Porter was found guilty "and the court do therefore sentence him, Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, of the United States Volunteers, to be cashiered, and to be forever disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit under the Government of the United States." He was dismissed from service January 21.Porter immediately attempted to overturn the conviction, declaring that the administration had fixed the proceedings to protect its own interests, but he was vilified in the press during the entire war. When the fighting ended, he sought the aid of Confederate generals to gain access to captured Confederacy papers that would aid his defense. Though he eventually won support among some Union officers including Grant, it was not until 1878 that President Hayes commissioned General Schofield to investigate the matter. The Schofield Commission exonerated the former major-general and concluded that "in our opinion justice requires at his [Hayes] hands such action as may be necessary to annul and set aside the findings and sentence of the court-martial in the case of Maj. Gen. Fitz John Porter, and to restore him to the positions of which that sentence deprived him—such restoration to take effect from the date of his dismissal from the service." On August 5, 1886, Chester Arthur, through an Act of Congress, reversed his sentence and restored his commission as infantry colonel which was backdated his rank from May 14, 1861. Finally vindicated, Porter retired from the Army two days later.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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