SOLD! for $1,560.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
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- Low Estimate: $800.00
- High Estimate: $1,200.00
- Realized: $1,560.00
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Significant Civil War era archive relating to the seizure of $60,000 gold from Samuel Smith & Co. of New Orleans in May of 1862 by Union General Benjamin Butler. Includes letters, document evidence, and excerpts from U.S. newspapers relating to the case brought by two New Orleans bankers to recover $60,000 in gold taken by force by General Butler and allegedly appropriated for his own use. Inventory of this archive includes – 12 letters from Judge Edward Pierrepoint (later Attorney General for President U.S. Grant) to Butler and/or Butler's attorney, John K. Hackett – 7 letters from Stanley, Langdell, and Brown (attorneys for Smith) – 3 letters related to attorney Hackett – 4 Newspaper articles on the case – 3 New Orleans bank checks written from Butler for a total of $30,226 – 21 court letters and letters to newspapers – a grouping of affidavits (approx 3) – a secretarial written letter by Butler on the Smith vs. Butler case – copy of letter to the War Department from Charles Frost with a statement of the President, Abraham Lincoln (secretarial signed)- an April 1865 letter from M. F. Bonzano of the New Orleans Mint – Dec 1864 anonymous letter signed "Union" discussing proof showing Smith to be a Confederate "rebel" – a 1865 letter from the War Department's Solicitor's office. In Summary, Samuel Smith accused General Butler of illegally seizing $60,000 in gold when Union forces occupied New Orleans in 1862. Various testimony and correspondence in this archive portrays Smith as a loyal Unionist. However, a letter dated March 1861 from Smith in New Orleans to F. H. Hatch in Montgomery, Alabama provides a startling revelation that is never mentioned in any of the newspapers or correspondence known. Smith writes to Hatch, "We have consulted with some of our leading Merchants and Capitalists in regard to taking a portion of it ($15 Million loan authorized by the Congress of the Confederacy) and probably a milllion…..If the Secr of the Treas. thinks proper to send us half a million, we would suggest that he send 400 Bonds of $1000 each and 200 of $500 each. We would have no objection to acting as Financial Agent for the Confederate States in this City, if the Secretary of the Treasury should desire us to do so…" How and when General Butler obtained this letter is unknown and why he did not divulge the contents of this letter in a public manner is also unknown. The letter may have been procured by the anonymous "Union" individual or by Bonzano and given to General Butler. Regardless, the letter serves to vindicate General Butler in seizing Smith's gold as contraband of the Confederacy. Provenance – descended through the family of Thomas E. Major, personal secretary to Benjamin F. Butler while he served as Governor of the State of Massachusetts. Condition: