War Date Document Endorsed
Silas Casey: (1807-82) Graduated in the West Point class of 1826. Distinguished himself during the Mexican War battles of Contreras, Churubusco, Molina del Rey, and Chapultepec, earning the brevets of major and lieutenant colonel for gallantry. Appointed a brigadier general of volunteers on Aug. 31, 1861. At the battle of Seven Pines, Va., in 1862, his division of the 4th Corps, bore the brunt of the Confederate attack by Gen. A.P. Hill's troops, and "Casey's Redoubt" was named for him. He later commanded a brigade in the Washington defenses and served as president of a board to examine candidates for officers of Negro Troops. General Casey also compiled and edited "Infantry Tactics," which was adopted by the government in 1862.
Francis Fessenden: (1839-1906) Son of President Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury, William P. Fessenden, and younger brother of Union General James D. Fessenden. He was born in Portland, Maine, graduated from Bowdoin College in 1858, studied law at Harvard and was appointed to the bar. Appointed captain of the newly authorized 19th U.S. Infantry at the start of the Civil War by Secretary of War Simon Cameron. He was wounded in the battle of Shiloh. After his recovery he was commissioned colonel of the 25th Maine Infantry, and later colonel of the 30th Maine Infantry. He took part in General N.P. Banks' Red River campaign serving in brigade command. Fessenden directed a charge at Monett's Ferry which saved the retreating Union army. He was severely wounded on April 23, 1864, at Cane River Crossing, La., which resulted in the amputation of his right leg. He was promoted to brigadier general on May 10, 1864. He served as a member of the military commission which tried and condemned Henry Wirz, the Confederate Commandant at Andersonville Prison, and was assistant commander of the bureau of refugees, freedmen and abandoned lands.
War Date Document Endorsed: 7 3/4 x 10, imprinted form, filled out in ink. This document is granting a furlough to Private Archibald S. Downs, Co. I, 27th Maine Infantry. It gives a complete description of Downs with his enlistment information. Furlough is granted for the period March 21, 1863, to March 31, 1863, at which time Downs will rejoin his Regiment at Camp Gen. Casey, Virginia or wherever it may be, or BE CONSIDERED A DESERTER. Signed at the bottom by S.E. Bryant, Capt. Co. I, 27th Maine Regt.
The document has the following endorsements on the reverse:
Camp Gen. Casey, 27th Maine Regiment, March 21, 1863. Archibald S. Downs, Private Co. I, 27th Me. Regt. Furlough. There is no person from this Regt. absent on leave or furlough. M.F. Wentworth, Col. Comdg.
Approved and furlough recommended, M.F. Wentworth, Col. Comdg., 27 Maine Regt.
Approved and forwarded, Francis Fessenden, Col. Comdg. 1st Brigade, Casey's Div. Head Quarters, 1st Brigade, Avery's Div., March 22, 1863.
Approved and respectfully forwarded, Silas Casey, Maj. Genl. Vols.
The document also bears the huge signature of Assistant Adjutant General Drake De Kay. Approved.....Furlough Granted for ten (10) days. By Command Of Maj. Gen'l Heintzelman. Drake De Kay, Asst. Adjt. Genl. H.Q. D. of Washington. Drake De Kay's signature is perhaps the most recognized one to come out of the entire Civil War. It was his signature that enabled persons to travel between military lines and he purposely adopted this huge bold style so that it could be easily recognized in the dimmest of lights by pickets, sentries, outposts, etc.
Document shows light age toning, soiling, some small fold splits, and a couple of edge chips. There is some ink bleed through on the front of the document from the extremely bold De Kay signature on the reverse.