Autograph Letter Signed, A. Lincoln, one page, octavo, Executive Mansion, May 5, 1864. To Hon. Jno. A.J. Creswell. "I shall be pleased to receive the gentleman named at 2 p.m. today."
Lincoln's appointment was with one of his staunchest supporters. John Angel James Creswell of Maryland was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1862; he was the first man in Congress to propose a constitutional amendment banning slavery. On the day of this meeting, Ulysses S. Grant (who had been appointed two months before to command all the armies of the United States) was undertaking a massive, coordinated campaign involving all the Union Armies. Grant himself was at the head of an Army of 120,000 soldiers, advancing toward Richmond to engage Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, now numbering 64,000 soldiers, beginning to a war of attrition with major battles at the Wilderness (May 5-6), Spotsylvania (May 8-12) and Cold Harbor (June 1-3). William Sherman, with 100,000 men, was beginning to advance toward Atlanta to engage Joseph E. Johnston's 60,000 strong Army of Tennessee.
Lincoln's office at this time was on the east end of the second floor of the White House. His work table stood between two tall windows that faced the south lawn, affording a panorama of the incomplete Washington Monument, the red-roofed Smithsonian, and the Potomac River. In the center of the chamber, which doubled as the Cabinet Room, stood a long oak table around which the members arranged themselves in order of precedence. (Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin.) On the day of his appointment with Creswell, Lincoln would have been surrounded by evidence of the ever-expanding war, with battlefield maps everywhere - rolled in standing racks, placed in folios on the floor, and hanging on the walls or reclining against.
Framed (with a taupe outer mat and an ivory inner mat in a brown and silver frame, with an engraving) dimensions: 20 inches wide by 17 1/2 inches high
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