Mar 21, 2024 - Sale 2663

Sale 2663 - Lot 19

Price Realized: $ 688
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(ABOLITION.) Three letters to abolitionist General Clinton Fisk regarding the impact of the Emancipation Proclamation. 2, 4, and 5 manuscript pages; each with scrapbook adhesive remnants along one edge. Various places, 1862-1863

Additional Details

Clinton Bowen Fisk (1828-1890) was raised in Michigan and moved to St. Louis shortly before the war. During the Civil War, he served as colonel of the 33rd Missouri Infantry in the Union Army, and became a brigadier general in November 1862.

The first of these letters was sent to Fisk by his friend Captain Horace Conant in Washington, just two days after the release of the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Conant notes that many Regular Army officers oppose Fisk's promotion, "but Lincoln's last proclamation will rid us of some of them if they have the patriotism to resign, for they have said they would not fight if slavery was interfered with." Conant added as a postscript: "I am a radical in the true meaning of the word, and a war abolitionist to the backbone. That is, abolish slavery, and even the Constitution, to annihilate treason and sustain the Union." Washington, 24 September 1862.

The other letters are by Joseph Brooks, chaplain of the 56th United States Colored Troops, and future leader of radical reconstructionists in Arkansas. One warns that forces in Arkansas state government are organizing "upon the basis of partial emancipation . . . holding that the Jan'y proclamation is but a military order, and can be reversed or modified as the military necessities of the country may demand." Helena, AR, 7 August 1863.

In the other, Chaplain Joseph Brooks urges, "If you can carry out the plan spoken of for emancipation in Mo., it will be a glorious thing for us." St. Louis, MO, 1 October 1863.

After the war, Fisk was an assistant commissioner with the Freedmen's Bureau, and is best known for his role in founding what became Fisk University.