Washington, D.C. War Department, Adjutant General's Office, 1861-1862. Three volumes, with over 300 individual imprints. 12mo. Uniformly bound in contemporary three-quarter roan and marbled boards, gilt leather labels. Wear to leather and edges, boards somewhat rubbed, front hinges tender. Contemporary ownership inscriptions and binder's tickets on front endpapers of second and third volumes; later bookplate on front pastedown of first volume. Light toning in places, otherwise internally clean. Very good. Item #WRCAM54585
A uniformly-bound set of General Orders issued by the Adjutant General's Office of the War Department in Washington, D.C., previously owned by Brig. Gen. John Pope Cook. The orders cover 1861 and 1862, and comprise a nearly complete run of orders for the Union Army during the first two years of the Civil War. Undoubtedly the most significant General Order in this collection is a preliminary printing of the Emancipation Proclamation. A handful of the orders are signed in ink by the various adjutant generals. The Emancipation Proclamation, bound in the third volume, is as follows: GENERAL ORDERS, No. 139. THE FOLLOWING PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT IS PUBLISHED FOR THE INFORMATION AND GOVERNMENT OF THE ARMY AND ALL CONCERNED: BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION [caption title]. Washington, D.C.: War Department, Adjutant General's Office, ca. Sept. 24, 1862. 3pp. This work is one of the earliest printings of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, issued to regimental commanders in the field during the Civil War in the week after President Lincoln's official manuscript version was finished. Here, the third paragraph rings out with Lincoln's timeless words: "That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated area of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free...." Following the Seven Days Battle and Gen. McClellan's retreat from the Peninsula, at the end of June, 1862, President Lincoln realized that there would be no early end to the war, and found himself "as inconsolable as it was possible for a human to be and yet live." Anxious for news from the army and needing to escape the constant interruptions at the White House, he frequently visited the telegraph office in the War Department building to await dispatches. It was during one such visit early in July that he asked the chief of the telegraph staff, Maj. Thomas Thompson Eckert, for some paper to "write something special," and began the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, completing it in a few weeks. Lincoln had long hoped to resolve the slavery issue through a congressional act of emancipation compensating slave owners for their loss of "property," but that approach was roundly rejected by representatives from the border states, leaving the President, who had decided upon the necessity of emancipation, with a presidential proclamation as the only option. The extraordinary document he conceived would announce the liberation on the 1st of January, 1863 of all slaves in those states still in rebellion against the Union, and promised compensation to slave owners in those states that returned to the fold before that time if they adopted "immediate or gradual abolishment of slavery." This proclamation would be followed by a final proclamation issued on the 1st of January, identifying those states still in rebellion and confirming the liberation of all slaves therein. On Tuesday, July 22, Lincoln presented his draft to the Cabinet, telling them that he had resolved firmly upon the course of action it specified, and asking them not for advice but suggestions. The only observation he had not anticipated came from Secretary of State Seward, who proposed that it might be best to wait for a military victory before issuing the Proclamation, as it could otherwise seem like "the last measure of an exhausted government." Immediately recognizing the wisdom of the suggestion, Lincoln held back. On September 17th, after an anxious wait of nearly two months, he received the victory he needed at the bloody Battle of Antietam. Completing his final draft, Lincoln presented it to his cabinet for refinement on September 22nd. Following the meeting, Seward took the amended draft with him to the State Department, where a formal, manuscript copy was made, then signed by Lincoln and Seward. The first edition of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (Eberstadt #1), a small three-page circular intended for distribution within the government and to the local press, was likely printed on the 22nd of September. At the time that Charles Eberstadt published his study of the Proclamation (1950), he was able to locate only one copy, which he himself owned, and as nearly as we have been able to determine no other copies have come to light since then. Eberstadt #2 is a supposed second edition, no copy of which Charles Eberstadt was able to locate, whose existence he inferred from the standard State Department practice of printing a folio edition consisting solely of the text of the proclamation, followed by another printing consisting of the text of a letter of transmittal from the Secretary of State as well as the text of the proclamation. While there may be a copy of Eberstadt #2 in the National Archives, as he speculated, it is not recorded in their online catalog, nor have we been able to find a copy in any other online catalog, including OCLC, the Library of Congress, and the Abraham Lincoln Library. Eberstadt's third printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is without a doubt the earliest obtainable printing. It consists of Secretary of State Seward's one-page letter of transmittal addressed "To the Diplomatic and Consular Officers of the United States in foreign countries" and the text of the proclamation. Eberstadt located a total of only five copies in institutions, at the Library of Congress, the National Archives, Yale, the Clements Library, and Brown. OCLC does not record any additional copies, nor is it recorded in Monaghan. This firm sold a copy several years ago. The present copy of GENERAL ORDERS No. 139, is Eberstadt's fourth printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, dated in print on September 24. Charles Eberstadt surmises that this field order printing could have been accomplished as late as September 29 or 30, and produced in as many as 15,000 copies. It is, however, rather uncommon in the market and this is the first copy of this printing of the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation offered by this firm. "From the first days of the Civil War, slaves had acted to secure their own liberty. The Emancipation Proclamation confirmed their insistence that the war for the Union must become a war for freedom. It added moral force to the Union cause and strengthened the Union both militarily and politically. As a milestone along the road to slavery's final destruction, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom" - National Archives. "The proclamation has been called by responsible persons one of the three great documents of world history, ranking with Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence" - Eberstadt. Besides including about 300 orders on all manner of Union military activity at the outset of the Civil War, the present collection also contains the 1861 printing of REGULATIONS FOR THE UNIFORM AND DRESS FOR THE ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES. Set out in GENERAL ORDERS, No. 6, this twenty-four-page printing of the Army dress regulations was the first to set out uniform requirements for the Union during the conflict. The first sentence of the first section requires officers to "wear a frock coat of dark blue cloth...." Thus, the Blue and the Gray begins. This set was collected and bound by John Pope Cook, who began the Civil War as a colonel in command of the 7th Illinois Volunteer Regiment. He was promoted to brigadier general after his troops played a key role in the Union victory at Fort Donelson early in 1862. After his promotion, he was transferred to a command in the Department of Iowa and Dakota Territory, where he remained until early 1863, conducting campaigns against the Sioux from his base at Sioux City, Iowa. These orders must have been bound near the end of this period, since contemporary labels note the binder, one William F. Kiter, as being from relatively close by Council Bluffs. A very early printing of one of the most important political acts in the Civil War, and indeed in American history, contained in a set of General Orders contemporaneously assembled by a significant Union Army commander. EBERSTADT, LINCOLN'S EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION 4.