MEIGS, JOHN ROGERS, Lieutenant. An extensive archive documenting military service and death John Rodgers Meigs, son of Quartermaster General Montgomery C. Meigs; killed at age 22 while serving as Topographic Engineer on Gen. P. Sheridan's staff. An evocative family archive containing his commissions and brevets, photographs, autograph letters, A SERIES OF HAND-DRAWN MAPS OF THE VALLEY, and other materials.
Documents: LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Partly printed document signed ("Abraham Lincoln"), countersigned by Edwin M. Stanton, Sec. of War, Washington, D.C. 1 July 1864, Folio, accomplished in manuscript, ON VELLUM, original green paper seal, inscribed by Meig's father, on verso, appointing Meigs 1st Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers -- JOHNSON, ANDREW. Partly printed document signed, countersigned by Stanton, Washington D.C., August 4 1866, 2 pages, folio, ON VELLUM, original blue paper seal, brevet to rank of captain for service at the Battle of Opequon -- JOHNSON, ANDREW. Partly printed document signed, Washington D.C., August 4 1866, 2 pages, folio, ON VELLUM, original blue paper seal, brevet to rank of Major for service at Fisher's Hill -- CHALFIN, S.F. Assistant Adjutant General. Certificate conferring 1st Lieutenant rank, Washington, D.C., 18 August 1864, War Department Letterhead -- FLOYD, JOHN B., Sec. of War to President Buchanan. Appointment as Cadet to the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, Washington, D.C., 21 January 1860 -- MEIGS, J.R. Document signed, N.p., n.d. 8vo, 4 pages, a printed report on the [First] Battle of Bull Run by Brevet Major Henry J. Hunt, inscribed at top, "Cadet Meigs U.S. Military Academy West Point" -- WHITTINGHAM, WILLIAM ROLLINSON, Bishop of Maryland. Certificate of Baptism, Washington, D.C., 17 May 1858.
Manuscript maps (drawn by Meigs during Sheridan's Valley campaigns): New Market, Woodstock, Shenandoah Valley, 280 x 248 mm. (11 x 9 in.) -- Shenandoah Valley, Belvedere, Nickless Mill, and Clives Mill, 249 x 200 mm., (9 x 7.7/8 in.) -- Shenandoah Valley with the names "John Hedrick" and "Moyheifer," 110 x 218 mm. (4 x 8 in.) -- Rockland Mills, Keegletown with distances to fords and encampments, 200 x 128 mm. (8 x 5 in.) -- Harrisonburg and environs (recto); Staunton (verso), 175 x 120 mm. (6 x 4 in.) -- Middletown and environs, 120 x 200 mm. (4 x 7 in.), part of a 4 page ALS discussing the locale and military events in the region. All finely detailed, executed in graphite with blue and red pencil on buff paper.
Portraits: Albumen print of Meigs in an interior , 68 x 59 mm. (2.7/8 x 2 in.), on contemporary mount, inscribed on verso, "John Rodgers Meigs, Aug. 20th 1859" -- Printed portrait of Meigs, colored [c.1865], 180 x 128 mm. (7 x 5 in.), on contemporary mount, inscribed below the image "Brevet Major John R. Meigs, killed by Guerillas near Harrisonberg W.V. while Chief Engineer of Sheridan's army. For 5 miles in all directions Gen. Sheridan laid waste the country in retribution of this deed" -- Engraving of Abraham Lincoln, bust length, with printed facsimile of signature below. N.p., n.d. 228 x 142 mm. (9 x 5 in.).
Manuscripts: SHERIDAN, PHILIP, Major General, U.S.A.. Autograph letter signed to J. Layton, Harrisonburg, 5 October 1864,2 pages, 8vo, on stationery, announcing Meig's death to a family friend just two days after the event -- SHERIDAN. Letter signed to E.M. Stantion, New Orleans, 24 April 1866, 2 pages, 4to, on letterhead, to the Secretary of War recommending Meigs be brevetted captain for the Battles of Opequan and Major for Fishers Hill -- CHASE, SALMON P., Secretary of the Treasury, U.S.A. Autograph letter signed to M.C. Meigs, Chillicothe, 10 October 1864, 1 page, 4to, a letter of condolence, "God Grant that the time may soon come when the sunlight of peace shall gild and the blessings of a reunited nation shall hallow his monument" -- CAMERON, SIMON, Secretary of War. Letter signed, Washington D.C. 15 December 1861, 2 pages, 4to, congratulating Meigs on this gallant conduct at the [First] Battle of Bull Run -- MEIGS, M.C. Autograph letter signed to his son, Washington, 18 December 1861, 1 page, 4to, sent with the preceding letter, "I enclose a letter from the Secreatry of War, complimenting you for your conduct in the unfortunate battle of Bull Run...keep it carefully and hand it to your children to stimulate them to patriotic deeds when their country will need their service" -- and approx. 45 other autograph letters including correspondence by Meigs to his family, letters of condolence, and other manuscript material related to Meigs' achievements in life and the circumstances of his death
The son of Quartermaster Meigs, young John Rodgers had graduated near the top of the Military Academy class of 1863 and joined Sheridan's staff as a topographical engineer. Meigs' work in this field is represented in the archive by five manuscript maps. Ranging from quick studies of routes to more finished maps that include routes, rivers, and topographical features, the maps record precisely the part of the battlefield in which Meigs died. His killing, originally thought to be the responsibility of Confederate guerillas, was later found to have occurred at the hands of General Wickhams' scouts, while Meigs attempted to avoid capture. Sheridan's rage at Meigs' death prompted his famous order to G.A. Custer to burn all of the houses within five miles of Harrisonburg in retaliation, later remanded. A contemporary account of Meigs' death (included in this lot) reports, "...he was returning from Gen'l Custer's headquarters...when he observed three men riding ahead of him. When the Lieutenant and his two orderlies came alongside these men wheeled suddenly, grasped the bridles and commenced firing at the Lieutenant and his men. The Lieut. was heard to say 'I surrender,' several times, but afterwards was shot and fell from his horse...He was universally esteemed and was considered by all to have been for his age one of the best officers in the service of the United States".