Signed with his military rank and pictured in uniform
In November 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. As a direct result, on December 20 South Carolina delegates to a special secession convention voted unanimously to secede from the Union. Six days later, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson, commander of the army garrison in Charleston harbor, abandoned the...
In November 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. As a direct result, on December 20 South Carolina delegates to a special secession convention voted unanimously to secede from the Union. Six days later, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson, commander of the army garrison in Charleston harbor, abandoned the indefensible Fort Moultrie and secretly relocated to Fort Sumter without orders from Washington, on his own initiative. He thought that providing a stronger position would delay an attack by South Carolina militia and improve the chances of a successful defense. Over the next weeks, repeated calls for the U.S. evacuation of Fort Sumter by the government of South Carolina were ignored. Then on January 9, 1861, a naval attempt to resupply and reinforce the garrison was repulsed, when the first shots of the war were fired to prevent the steamer Star of the West from completing the task.
The U.S. Sanitary Commission cared for the Union’s sick and wounded soldiers and promoted clean and healthy conditions in army camps. It was a privately funded agency and received no government financial support. Instead, it held fairs in large cities around the country, mainly in 1863-4, to raise money for its activities. The fairs attracted patriotic citizens in all walks of life. President Lincoln attended when he could, and he and his Cabinet contributed notes, documents, photographs, and signatures to be sold or auctioned at the fairs with the proceeds going to the Sanitary Commission.
The Sanitary Fair in New York City, known as the Metropolitan Fair, was announced by the New York Times on January 1, 1864, to be held on March 28th of that year. The Sanitary Commission’s brightest luminaries lived in New York, men like explorer, attorney and Union officer Col. Leavitt Hunt and Henry Whitney Bellows, president of the organization.
The Metropolitan Fair was postponed to the 4th of April, and it ran until April 23. It was the largest Sanitary Fair ever and raised over $2 million dollars for the Union cause. This was the home front supporting the troops in the field. The Mayor of New York issued a Proclamation making the opening day of the Fair a holiday. Major-General John Adams Dix organized the largest military display ever in New York, with all the U.S. troops in the city. The Metropolitan Fair was officially declared open; there were flags everywhere and the streets, starting from noon, were thronged with half a million people. Then came was a two mile procession to city hall. The Fair itself was a grand, custom-built hall with a model of Washington’s Headquarters at Newburgh, N.Y., and the uniform of Col. Elmer E. Ellsworth, the Civil War’s first Union fatality. The Metropolitan Fair was a combination museum, curiosity shop, theater, state fair, art gallery, war relic and trophy shop, sideshow, rummage sale, and mega–department store, unquestionably the largest exposition of any kind yet organized in a single venue. And all of this was donated to raise funds for the Union cause. And of the treasures to view and bid on, one was a signed image of war hero Robert Anderson.
Carte de visite, signed, showing Anderson in uniform, “Robert Anderson, Brigadier General, USA”.
On the verso, someone has written in pencil that this came from the Sanitary Fair and was signed April 6, 1864.
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