Abraham Lincoln Presidential Signed Commission for Lemuel B. Norton, Captain in the Signal Corps, July 1864
Lot of 4, featuring partially printed document signed by Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865). 1p, 14 x 18.75 in. (sight), on vellum, with embossed seal affixed upper left. Washington, July 15, 1864. Appointment of Lemuel B. Norton as Captain of the U.S. Signal Corps. Signed by Lincoln as President (1860-1865) and Edwin M. Stanton (1814-1869) as Secretary of War (1862-1868). Framed together with modern portrait of Lincoln and descriptive plaque, 31.5 x 28.5 in.
Accompanied by partially printed DS signed by Stanton, in which he informs Norton of his appointment as Captain in the Signal Corps, from the "War Department, Washington," June 13, 1863; and two letters from Norton, although they appear to have been written in two different hands, each on Signal Department stationary, from "Camp near Fairfax CH, Va." June 23, 1863. Each addressed to Brig. Gen, Thomas. In the first letter, Norton acknowledges receipt of his appointment, and in the second letter, he asks that his resignation be accepted so he can serve as Captain of the Signal Corps.
Lemuel B. Norton, Chief Signal Officer for the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg
Warren County, PA native Lemuel B. Norton (1839-1871) enlisted on June 22, 1861 at the age of 21 as a 1st lieut. and was commissioned into Co. A of the 10th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania State Guard and was later promoted to captain, but left that position when appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to the rank of captain in the Army of Potomac Signal Corps, a military organization pioneered by Maj. Albert J. Meyer. The new group utilized communication tactics and information as a weapon.
Norton served as Chief Signal Officer at the Battle of Gettysburg. He established a complicated line of men at important vantage points near Cemetery Hill, Powers Hill, Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top. He used them to communicate with other generals the positions and movements of enemy troops. His group on Little Round Top forced Longstreet to detour the approach march to his attack on July 2nd. Longstreet rerouted his march to a more concealed route, but failed. The Signal Corps warned Meade of their approach and reinforcements charged toward the flank that narrowly fought off the Confederates. In addition to his men, he had field telegraph trains he chose not to deploy.
Norton was recognized for "Gallant and Meritorious Service" in the Battle of Gettysburg, for "Meritorious Service" in the Signal Corps during the war, and for "Meritorious Service" in the Campaign against Richmond, VA. He continued his service after the war and ended his military career as a major in July 1867. Norton died in Philadelphia, PA, in December 1871 of pulmonary tuberculosis as a result of military exposure.
The papers, commissions, and personal effects offered here were previously passed down through members of Norton's family, and were sold in 1997 to a private collector.
The letters are in very good condition with typical folds. The appointment is also in very good condition with typical folds, a few minor stains, and its original seal intact. It is framed with a modern print of the president and a engraved plaque. The total piece measures 32 x 28 in.