Famous for his American flag dispatch, "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot!" This became a clarion call in the North during the Civil War!
(1798-1879) Born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, he joined the U.S. Army in 1813, and served until 1828. In 1830, he was appointed by Governor Enos T. Throop as Adjutant General of the New York State Militia. Was New York Secretary of State, 1833-39, and served as a member of the New York State Assembly in 1842, and was elected to the United States Senate, serving 1845-49. In 1853, Dix was president of the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad. He was Postmaster of New York City 1860-61. In 1861, President Buchanan appointed him U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, and on January 29, 1861, he made his famous American flag dispatch to a treasury official in New Orleans, "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot!" Commissioned Major General by President Abraham Lincoln, on May 16, 1861, he was first on this list, thus outranking all other volunteer officers during the Civil War. At the beginning of the war he arrested six members of the Maryland General Assembly and prevented Maryland from seceding from the Union, which earned him President Lincoln's gratitude and praise. That winter, he commanded an organization known as "Dix's Command" within General George B. McClellan's Department of the Potomac. Dix commanded the Department of Virginia from June 1862 until July 1863, and the Department of the East from July 1863 until April 1865. On July 22, 1862, General Dix and Confederate General Daniel H. Hill made an agreement for the general exchange of prisoners between the Union and Confederate armies. This agreement became known as the "Dix-Hill Cartel." It established a scale of equivalents, where an officer would be exchanged for a fixed number of enlisted men, and also allowed for the parole of prisoners, who would undertake not to serve in a military capacity until officially exchanged. The cartel worked well for a while, but it ended up breaking down when Confederate officials insisted on treating black prisoners as fugitive slaves and returning them to their previous owners. He made an important and distinguished contribution to the Union cause when he suppressed the 1863 New York City draft riots. General Dix was active in the defense of Suffolk, Virginia, which was part of his department. He served as the chairman of the 1866 National Union Convention. He was U.S. Minister to France, 1866-69, and Governor of New York, 1873-74.
War period signature with rank: 2 3/4 x 1, in ink, John A. Dix, Major General. Comes with an antique 4 3/4 x 6 1/2, photograph of Dix in uniform with rank of major general.