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The note was found three weeks ago at the archives among documents long open to researchers and was known to have existed because Halleck cited it in a telegram, said archivist Trevor Plante, the Civil War specialist who found it.
The note from Lincoln to Maj. Gen. Henry Halleck was written on July 7, 1863, four days after the defeat of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and three days after the city of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River fell to Union forces.
The contents of the letter...
"We have certain information that Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant on the 4th of July. Now, if Gen. Meade can complete his work so gloriously prosecuted thus far, by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army, the rebellion will be over," the note says.
The document, signed "Yours truly, A. Lincoln," was written on War Department letterhead. Plante said in other writing Lincoln sometimes misspelled the word "literal" and sometimes spelled it correctly.
I find it fascinating how much history still lies dormant, waiting to be found.
"I was looking for something else and frankly where I found it was in an obscure place," he said.
The letter was in a collection known as the Generals' Papers, a hodgepodge of documents. The papers were transferred to the National Archives from the War Department in 1938. Before 1938 they had been held in a government garage.
"I was going through and just seeing kind of every day stuff and then turned the page and there was the Lincoln document," Plante said
Makes you wonder how many other important documents/information is just 'floating' around in some long forgotten achieves, never seeing the light of day.
Sad when you think about