FULL STANDING VIEW CDV OF UNION ADJUTANT GENERAL LORENZO THOMAS

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Item Code: 259-100

Image is clear with great contrast. Thomas wears a dark double-breasted frock coat with brush epaulettes, waist belt with a Model 1840 General Officer’s sword and matching dark trousers with a thin light leg stripe. He is posed by a draped column on which he rests his right hand that is holding his bicorn with “US” in a wreath on the front and a “Jeff Davis” hat insignia on the side.

Reverse has photographer’s imprint of E. ANTHONY FROM A BRADY NEGATIVE. Pencil ID reads “GEN. L. THOMAS, ADJUTANT GENL, U.S.A.”

Thomas was born on October 26, 1804 in New Castle, Delaware. He graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1823, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Infantry. He fought in the Seminole War in Florida and, during the Mexican War, he was the chief of staff to General William O. Butler. He received a brevet promotion to lieutenant colonel for Monterrey, which was made permanent in 1852. From 1853 to 1861, he served as chief of staff to the commanding general of the U.S. Army, Winfield Scott.

Just before the start of the Civil War, Thomas was promoted to colonel and adjutant general of the U.S. Army on March 7, 1861. On August 10, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Thomas a brigadier general in the regular army, to rank from August 3, 1861. He was assigned to the position of adjutant general.

From March 17 to July 23, 1862, he served as the chairman of the War Board, the organization that assisted President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary Stanton in the management of the War Department and the command of the Union armies during the period in which there was no general-in-chief.

On April 6, 1863, General Thomas was sent by the War Department to Helena, Arkansas to recruit freedmen into the U.S. Army. He created the first black troop in Arkansas, fighting for Union side as part of Bureau of Colored Troops, which was created by the War Department on May 22, 1863. Thomas did not get along well with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and this assignment outside of Washington, D.C., was considered a form of banishment. Many historians have claimed Thomas was banished in disgrace after conspiring to defame Union General William T. Sherman as insane. Thomas was replaced by Maj. Gen. Edward D. Townsend as Adjutant General, who would serve until 1880.

On March 8, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Thomas to the grade of brevet major general in the regular army, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on July 14, 1866.

On February 21, 1868, President Johnson attempted to replace Stanton by appointing Thomas as Secretary of War ad interim. Thomas, still stinging from his bad treatment by Stanton, boasted of his ability and determination to oust him from office by force, if necessary. Some historians believe that it was this attitude in his testimony at Johnson's impeachment trial in the Senate that was partially responsible for Johnson's acquittal. Thomas retired from the Army on February 22, 1869, ten days before Johnson left office. He died in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 1875 and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown.  [ad]

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