UNION ARMY “POST PASS” DOCUMENT, PORT ROYAL. S.C, SIGNED BY LT. COL. GEORGE S. BATCHELLER, 115TH NEW YORK INFANTRY

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Dated “Office of Provost Marshal / Port Royal, S.C. June 3, 1863.” Pre-printed form. 2pp., 7/375 x 6.375” w/ rear endorsement, signed by Post Provost Batcheller. Exhibits fold-marks, else VG.

The Post-Pass lists businessman “Jas. A. Richardson” and his descriptive characteristics—Age, Eyes, Complexion, Hair, Height and Where Born [Berlin, Conn.]. Also listing his arrival—Oct. 20,1862 on board the Schooner Sanders. Business—Engineering. Residence—N. Haven, Special Order 139 for “28 / ’63”. Concluding paragraph—“It is understood that the above named and subscriber, accepts this Pass on his word of honor that he is, and will ever be, loyal to the United States ; and if hereafter found in arms against the Union or in any way aiding her enemies, the penalty will be DEATH.”

Colonel Batcheller’s 115th New York was mustered in August 1862, and immediately on entering service found itself captured with the Harper’s Ferry garrison by forces of Stonewall Jackson in route to Antietam in mid-September 1862, and paroled to Camp Douglas, at Chicago. Returning to service in November, the unit was dispatched to the southeastern theater where it saw action at the Battle of Olustee [FL]. The spring of 1864 found the 115th attached to the Army of the James and engaged at Bermuda Hundred, Drury’s Bluff and Cold Harbor, before joining the Ft. Fisher expedition and eventually participating in Sherman’s Carolinas Campaign to the close of the war. During service it lost 135 killed and mortally wounded and 188 by disease for a total of 323, and was listed as one of “Fox’s Fighting 300” regiments.

George Sherman Batcheller (1837-1908) was a Civil War soldier and lawyer from Saratoga Springs, New York, who served the bulk of his career as an American judge in the International Tribunal (Mixed Courts) in Egypt. In addition, he was a member of the New York State Assembly, an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, a Minister to Portugal, and a trade representative for American insurance companies in Europe.

Batcheller was born July 25, 1837, in Batchellerville, New York, a small village in Saratoga County, New York.  His father was a nephew of Roger Sherman, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. After receiving his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1857, George Batcheller was admitted to the New York bar in 1858. At the age of 21 Batcheller was elected for the first time to the New York State Assembly. He married Catherine Phillips Cook, the daughter of Gen. James M. Cook, a banker and former New York State Senator, Comptroller and Superintendent of Banking, on October 8, 1861.

Batcheller raised a company of volunteers for the 115th New York Infantry Regiment, and was mustered in as lieutenant colonel of that regiment in August 1862. He participated in the operations in the Shenandoah Valley in September and October 1862 and was taken prisoner in October at the siege of Harper's Ferry. After being paroled in a prisoner exchange in December 1862, he served in the 10th Army Corps as Deputy Provost Marshal General, Department of the South and participated in campaigns in Virginia and at Hilton Head and Charleston.  During the last year of the war he was appointed Inspector General of the Volunteers and National Guard of New York, serving from 1865 to 1869. He reorganized the National Guard of New York and codified the State Military Laws. While serving as Inspector General, the Governor designated him to accompany the funeral escort of President Lincoln through New York.

In 1873 Batcheller returned to the New York Assembly, and served there until 1874. In 1875 President Ulysses S. Grant appointed him to serve as American judge in the newly formed International (Mixed Courts) Tribunal in Egypt. While serving as judge, he was called upon by the U.S. State Department to serve as prosecuting attorney in the 1880 murder trial of Stephen Mirzan, an American citizen who was accused of the sensational murder of an attorney general for the Egyptian government in Alexandria, Egypt. At the conclusion of the May 28-June 14, 1880, trial in Alexandria, Mirzan was convicted and sentenced to execution. The trial was controversial in the press because an American citizen was tried before the U.S. minister to the Ottoman Empire without benefit of a jury. Moreover, in the absence of a U.S. attorney to try the case, Batcheller acted as prosecuting attorney, temporarily suspending his role as judge in the International Tribunal. The collection includes the trial preparation papers, witness testimony, newspaper accounts, a murder-scene photograph, and a draft article George Batcheller wrote about the trial. In 1883 Batcheller's colleagues elected him Chief Justice of the Tribunal. He resigned in 1885 and returned to the New York State Assembly for two successive terms.

Batcheller served in several governmental and diplomatic posts, including as First Assistant Secretary of the Treasury from 1889-91 and Minister to Portugal from November 1891 through 1892. From 1892 to 1895 he served as trade representative in Europe for three American insurance companies, with diplomatic standing and a headquarters in Paris. In 1897 President McKinley appointed him to preside over the proceedings (in French) of the Universal Postal Congress in Washington, D.C.

He was appointed again in 1898 to the International Tribunal in Egypt. President Theodore Roosevelt promoted him in May of 1902 to Justice of the International Court of Appeals in Alexandria, Egypt, where he served until his death. His wife  died in Egypt in May 1903 and her remains were returned to Saratoga Springs, New York. George Batcheller died in Paris on July 2, 1908, and his body was returned to New York. Their daughter, Katherine (Kate) Batcheller, was born on May 19, 1870, and died on January 4, 1943.

An interesting Union army post-pass from Port Royal, S.C., with its concluding proviso that if its recipient is later found in cahoots with the enemy, the penalty will be “DEATH”. In protective sleeve, accompanied by documentation.  [JP]  [ph:L]

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