Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''

Clara Barton autograph letter signed to General Benjamin Butler regarding the plight of Barton's colleague, Dorence Atwater, who worked with her in the Office of Missing Soldiers, and who had been, many believe, unjustly imprisoned. Letter also includes Butler's very interesting handwritten, signed response, which seems to indicate that no Congressional action has been taken on behalf of Atwater because Congressmen are ''afraid of the impeachment'' of President Andrew Johnson and that ''even the watching of a faithless execution will be neglected.'' Butler's response is dated 25 March 1867, three weeks after Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which attempted to limit the power of President Johnson, and which would ultimately trigger impeachment proceedings against Johnson the following year. The Act was designed to protect Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, whom Johnson wanted to remove; the Congressmen perhaps felt that it they intervened on Atwater's behalf, it would give cause for Johnson to remove Stanton from office.

During the Civil War, Dorence Atwater was a Prisoner of War at Andersonville Prison who, despite great risk to himself, secretly kept a copy of the ''Death List'' of Union prisoners who died there. After the war, Atwater smuggled the list out of the prison and shared it with Barton, who was corresponding with families of missing soldiers. Despite also sharing the list with government officials, Atwater refused to relinquish his copy of the list to the U.S. government because it refused to publish the names, as Atwater wanted. As a result, Atwater was court martialed and imprisoned, but not before Horace Greeley, Editor of the ''New York Tribune'', published the entire list of names, causing an enormous public outcry to free and pardon Atwater.

Barton updates General Barton on the petitions circulating to free Atwater, and asks for the General's help in this letter dated 21 March 1867, in part, ''...You have doubtless already read a petition from the Citizens of Auburn N.Y. respecting Atwater's case, another must be nearly on its way from New Haven and from present indications Hartford will soon follow their example...it is the design and desire of all that you assume the management of the case and hold it entirely subject to your own will, and judgment until justice is done. Will you General, please do this one more favor for me - I was more than willing that it sleep on the last session of the late Congress for I foresaw that nothing satisfactory would be accomplished, and besides - I knew that you were coming. His cause lies very near the hearts of the whole American people, I could send a full petition from every community in the loyal States if necessary, praying that he be not only restored to his rights but rewarded for his services...Clara Barton''.

Butler handwrites his reply on the letter, in full, ''March 25th 67 / BFB / Thus My dear Miss Barton / Nothing can be done this [Congressional] session. So many men desire to get away. So many are afraid of the impeachment and so many are in the slough of Presidential hopes circles and pangs[?] that public business even the watching of a faithless execution will be neglected. I need not tell you I will do all I may / Yours truly / B.F. Butler''. Barton's two page letter on card-style stationery measures 5'' x 8'', with Butler's response on the third page, running into the second page. Folds and tape remnants, otherwise near fine condition. With full transcription. A fascinating letter reflecting upon the passions of the time.

Price: $2,000
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Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''
Clara Barton Autograph Letter Signed Regarding the Plight of Dorence Atwater -- With General Benjamin Butler's Reply on Andrew Johnson's Impeachment: ''...So many are afraid of the impeachment...''
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