To the Army of the Tennessee.... Saratoga Springs, N.Y. June 1st 1865.
1865·Saratoga Springs, NY
by (ARMY OF THE TENNESSEE / FALL OF VICKSBURG / GRANT, ULYSSES S.).
Saratoga Springs, NY: Union Hotel, 1865. Printed Invitation. 1p (lettersheet). Small 4to (7 3/4" X 9 3/4"). Very good. Two original horizontal folds visible; binding traces along left edge. Rare copy of what is surely one of the earliest memorial gatherings regarding a specific Civil War anniversary -- the second anniversary of the fall of Vicksburg on July 4th, 1863, ending the two-month Siege of Vicksburg. One of the last major rebel strongholds on the Mississippi River, the defeat of General John C. Pemberton's troops by U.S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee put one of the final nails in the Confederate coffin. Published less than three months after the Confederacy's official surrender on April 9, 1865, this decorative invitation is printed on a high-quality stock and features a variety of ornamental typefaces and type sizes. "You are respectfully invited to attend a grand reunion of the Officers and Ex Officers of the Army of the Tennessee, at Union Hotel, Saratoga Springs, on the 4th of July, 1865, to celebrate the anniversary of the fall of Vicksburg -- the opening of the Mississippi River and the termination of that Campaign which numbered among its captures Fort Henry, Ft. Donelson, Nashville, Corinth and Memphis." It continues: "A Dinner will be given under the direction of the Senior proprietor of the Hotel, Maj. W.W. Leland, formerly Chief Commissary of the Army of the Tennessee. Our old Chief Lieutenant General Grant is expected to be present and preside at the dinner...." Among the half dozen officers ("committee of invitation") then listed are Major General John A. Logan, Major General Frank P. Blair, Brevet Major General John A. Rawlins and two others. The invitation is then signed in type at lower right by the event's chairman, Col. W.S. Hillyer -- one of Grant's aides-de-camp. In the lower left corner, the name of the recipient of this invitation has been lightly penned ("Lieut A.J. Harding / St Joseph / MO") by the person who sent it to him -- none less than Union Hotel co-owner Warren W. Leland, who signs the lower right corner. Leland (who had served on Grant's staff) and his three brothers, all well-known hotel owners already, had purchased this Saratoga Springs landmark (which the "New York Times" had once described as "the most sumptuous public house in the world") the year before; tough times followed, though, and by 1872 they declared bankruptcy. A choice copy of this quite scarce invitation, which given its nature would have been produced in a very small quantity. (Inventory #: 40828)
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