LS, MAJOR GENERAL NATHANIEL P. BANKS, U.S.A.

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Dated “Headquarters, Department of the gulf/ New Orleans, Feb. 4, 1864. From Gen. Banks to “Col. Isaac Dyer/ 15th Maine Volunteers.” 1 page, in ink, on lined Department letterhead, 7.75 x 9.75”.  Exhibits fold-marks, else mint condition. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation. Text:

“Colonel…Your letter of January 27th is received. The position of your regiment is temporary and in the permanent organization will be made. I( have not doubt entirely satisfactory to you and your men. I appreciate its importance services and high character, and will do everything I can to satisfy any reasonable expectations it entertains. /with much respect/ Your Obedt. Servant, N.P. Banks/ Major Genl. Comm’d’g.”

Nathaniel P. Banks was a Democratic Congressman politician from Massachusetts who served as president of the Illinois Central Railroad (succeeding George McClellan) before accepting a commission as Major General of volunteers. He fought against Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley, served under Gen. Pope, and succeeded Gen. B.F. Butler (another Massachusetts politician general as commander of the Dept. of the Gulf in New Orleans. He commanded the expedition against Port Hudson and handled it badly. In 1864 he was put in command of the Red River expedition and handled that badly as well. Following which he resigned his command and returned to Congress, where he served many years as chairman of the committee on foreign relations. In 1891 Congress voted him a pension of $1200 per year. He died in 1894.

The 15th Maine, commanded by Col. Isaac Dyer, was at the time of this letter stationed at Pass Cavallo, Matagorda Island in the Gulf. Banks is obviously responding to a letter from the Colonel  inquiring about the disposition of the his regiment, telling him that his posting on the island is only temporary. Which was true, the 15th Maine  which would be included and would see action in the disastrous Red River Campaign in the weeks ahead.

Excellent collectible. Mint letter by a major Union—Dept. of the Gulf—  commander, if not an overly  distinguished one. [jp]

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