Lot 16: War-dated partly-printed vellum DS as president, one page, 14.5 x 18, March 25, 1847. President Polk appoints Isaac Bowen as "First Lieutenant in the First Regiment of Artillery, in the service of the United States." Signed at the conclusion by President Polk and countersigned by Secretary of War William L. Marcy. The crisply embossed white paper seal affixed to the upper left remains fully intact. Intersecting folds (one vertical fold passing between Polk's first name and middle initial), moderate scattered toning and soiling, and expected document wear, otherwise fine condition. Bowen was a friend of D. H. Hill of the Fourth Artillery, now best remembered for his service in the Confederate Army. Both saw the war as a way to prove to the American people—who remained skeptical of the idea of a regular standing army—that the officers who graduated from the US Military Academy were indeed skilled soldiers rather than 'epauletted loafers.' A letter from Bowen written at the outset of the war in 1846 is quoted in Ricardo A. Herrera's book For Liberty and the Republic, in which he wrote that as the First Artillery prepared to 'march upon Monterey' he hoped to 'cover myself with that bubble 'Glory' which I am so anxious to obtain.' The sweeping American victory in the Mexican-American War, which gave the United States most of its present land in the southwest, indeed proved the worth of the Army's officers and became the defining element of Polk's presidency.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 458
Wednesday, 12th August 2015
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