GARFIELD, James A. Partly printed document accomplished and signed ("James Abram Garfield"), a request for information to be included in George W. Childs' book The Life and Services of the Generals of the Army, [Washington, D.C., ca. 20 July 1863]. 1 page, folio (12 5/8 x 7 15/16 in.), an advertisement for the Pictorial History of the Great Rebellion on the verso, minor browning, otherwise fine.
GARFIELD RECOUNTS HIS DISTINGUISHED SERVICE IN THE CIVIL WAR
Shortly after Confederate troops retreated across the Potomac after their defeat at Gettysburg, Philadelphia publisher George W. Childs contemplated the production of an illustrated bibliographical account of Civil War officers entitled The Life and Services of the Generals of the Army. In preparation for the book that Childs claimed would be written by "an eminent author," the publisher sent printed questionnaires to Union officers including James Garfield.
Garfield completed his questionnaire with a clear desire to be as detailed as possible. In response to the question "Date of your first entering the army, and present commission," Garfield writes "Appointed Lt Col of Ohio Vols. Aug 12, 1861. Promoted to Colonelcy 42nd O.V.I. Sep 5, 1861. Appointed Brig Gen Vols. January 11th 1862." His effort to describe the battles in which he participated is a quite thorough third person narrative: "He reached mouth Big Sandy, Ky. Dec 22/62. Jan. 8/63 drove rebel Cav. from Paintsville Ky with a loss of 25 Killed & wounded. Drove Humphrey Marshall from his intrenched camp, pursued him & Jan 10th fought him at Middle Creek with 1700 Inf. against his 4500 Inf. & Cav. & Batteries, routed him with a loss of 250 Killed, wounded & prisoners losing but 30 men - - - March 16, 1862 drove 500 rebels from Entrenched camp at Pound Gap, 4 miles south of Piketon Ky after sharp fight & burned camp & stores. Commanded 20th Brigade Army of the Ohio at the Battle of Shiloh & taking of Corinth. In Aug. 62 was assigned to command of forces at Cumberland Gap, but sickness prevented his assuming the position. Was ordered to Washington as member of Court Martial for the trial [of] Maj Gen Fitz John Porter. In Jan 63, chosen Chief of Staff to Maj Gen Rosecrans Dept. Cumberland where he has served ever since." Referring to his forthcoming political career in Washington, Garfield concludes: "Was elected without solicitation to represent 19th Cong. Dist of Ohio in next Congress." As references, he lists Professor Rhodes and Ms. A.A. Booth of the Eclectic Institute in Hiram, Ohio.
Garfield's military career was cut short by his more prominent role in politics, but his Civil War service proved more than adequate, leading General William Rosecrans to remark "He possesses the instinct and energy of a great commander."
Provenance: Mrs. Philip D. Sang (sale, Sotheby's, 31 October 1985, lot 73).