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Estimate: $ 1,000 - $ 1,500
(CIVIL WAR.) A book defaced by a Union soldier with anti-rebel graffiti. "Message from the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress." 638 pages. 8vo, publisher's calf, worn; lacking front free endpaper, closed tears to title page, moderate foxing and toning; pencil inscriptions to front and rear endpapers and flyleaves. Washington, 1855, with inscriptions circa 1862
John Randolph Jackson (circa 1840-1891) was a private in the 1st Maryland Infantry Regiment, part of the Potomac Home Brigade in the Union army. At some point in 1862, he got hold of this banal volume of United States governmental documents (Franklin Pierce's State of the Union address and diplomatic reports) and filled its blank pages with patriotic notes and doodles. The front pastedown has a flag reading "Plaid out"; the rear flyleaves include his name and the proclamation "Jeff Davis is a son of a bitch and all others Rebbles." The rear endpapers are decorated with a large Union flag reading "The Union For Ever", adding "Old Baltimore ever true to the Union."
If we had to guess when this work was done, Jackson's regiment was captured in the fall of Harper's Ferry in September 1862 and then sent to a Union-run parole camp in Maryland to await exchange. Perhaps he had access to unloved and untended books in the parole camp; you certainly can't imagine him lugging around this tome while fighting at Gettysburg, as the regiment did the following July.
Jackson worked as a painter and raised a family in Baltimore after the war.