Union General Lorenzo Thomas War Date LS


Dated September 23rd, 1861 from Washington. In dark bold ink, signed “L. Thomas”. It reads in part in a different hand: “The following Brigade Surgeons are assigned to duty with the command of the officers named, and will report accordingly.” The surgeon listed is to report to Major General Wool. A very interesting document indeed. Overall fine condition with light toning and some folds. An excellent document to frame and hang on the wall!


On August 10, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Thomas a brigadier general in the regular army, to rank from August 3, 1861, the date Lincoln sent the nomination to the U.S. Senate for confirmation. The Senate confirmed the appointment on August 5, 1861. Camp Thomas, a Regular Army training base in Columbus, Ohio, was named in his honor in July 1861. He held the position of adjutant general until he retired in 1869, except for a special assignment to recruit African-American troops in the Military Division of the Mississippi from 1863 to 1865.

Thomas did not get along well with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and this assignment outside of Washington, D.C., was considered a form of banishment. Many historians have claimed Thomas was banished in disgrace after conspiring to defame Union General William T. Sherman as insane. Thomas was replaced by Maj. Gen. Edward D. Townsend as Adjutant General, who would serve until 1880.

From March 17 to July 23, 1862, he served as the chairman of the War Board, the organization that assisted President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary Stanton in the management of the War Department and the command of the Union armies during the period in which there was no general-in-chief.

On April 6, 1863, General Thomas was sent by the War Department to Helena, Arkansas to recruit freedmen into the U.S. Army. He created the first black troop in Arkansas, fighting for Union side as part of Bureau of Colored Troops, which was created by the War Department on May 22, 1863.

On March 8, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Thomas to the grade of brevet major general in the regular army, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on July 14, 1866.

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