War Between the States

Plus related imprint concerning the heroes of the American Revolution!

2 pages, 7 1/2 x 9 3/4, in ink, written by Alexander Ray.

Washington, D.C., November 18, 1874

Maj. Genl. David Hunter, U.S.A.
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir;

I take the liberty of enclosing you one of my printed circular letters. It fully explains the subject to which it relates as well as the object of this communication. I have lately visited Boston, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland to confer with the Societies of the Cincinnati of those states respectively, and have the good fortune to obtain their cooperationin the form of petitions to Congress for legislative action upon the Bill introduced, at my request, by the Hon. Mr. Archer at the last Session of Congress. The bill was favorably received by the Committee on War Claims, and I am not without the hope of the passage of the bill at the next Session of Congress. It has been a work of labor with me for the last twenty years and without any aid or renumeration; and I ask now of those to be benefitted by the passage of the bill, only a contingent fee in the event of a successful prosecution. On a late visit to Princeton, N. Jersey, to confer with Col. Alexander W. Cummings, who together with Wm. B. Dayton, Esq. of Philadelphia, are two of the prominent officers of the New Jersey Society of the Cincinnati- with the view of getting a favorable application to Congress for the passage of the Bill now before the Hosue. Col. Cummings engaged my services in the case of his late father, Lt. Col. John S. Cummings, and at the time, mentioned to me your name as the son of the late Chaplain Andrew Hunter, and therefore entitled under the bill I have in charge. If you will favor me with the time of your late Father's death, I may be able to state for your information the amount which, in the event of the passage of the Bill (and I certainly have that expectation) may be established under it.

Very Truly and Respectfully,
Alex. Ray

Included with this letter is the printed circular that Ray sent to General Hunter.

8 x 10, imprint, 1 1/3 pages.

Washington, D.C., Nov. 1874

It reads in part:

By a resolution of Congress of October 21st, 1780, "half pay for life was promised to the officers of the continental line of the Army who shall continue in the service to the end of the war, to commence from the time of their reduction" and by subsequent resolutions a similar provision was made for the Medical Staff and Chaplains.

A further resolution was passed on the 22nd March, 1873, proposing to commute with the officers embraced by the foregoing resolutions, and, in lieu of half pay for life, to allow them five years full pay. It was, however, so provided, that it be at the option of the lines of the respective States, and not the officers individually in those lines, to accept or refuse the same. The commutation having been accepted collectively, the individual officers who had been promised half pay for life were paid five years full pay in government certificates (but not money) under the resolution of '83.

In consequence of the great number of commutation certificates being thus thrown all at once upon the market, and at a time when the necessities of the officers were urgent in the extreme, the current price fell so low as 12 1/2 cents to the dollar, so that officers who bore the brunt of the whole war, and had been promised for their services a reward in good faith when the war ended, were compelled to submit to a ruinous depreciation which left many penniless and dispirited.

Much more excellent content concerning these heroes of the Revolution.

Very fine pair of related items personally sent to General David Hunter directly relating to his father, Chaplain Andrew Hunter, a hero of the American Revolution. Rare!

General David Hunter: (1802-86) Graduated in the West Point class of 1822. Hunter was invited by President Elect Abraham Lincoln to travel with him on the inaugural train to Washington in Feb. 1861. Selected for high command by Lincoln himself, Hunter became the 4th highest ranking officer in the volunteer army. His field service included the 1st battle of Bull Run where he was wounded, the battle of Secessionville, S.C., and the battle of Piedmont. He was also known for his 1862 order to abolish slavery in the Department of the South; an order that was instantly repudiated by Lincoln, he presided at the court martial of General Fitz John Porter, he ordered the burning of the buildings of the Virginia Military Institute in 1864, and he presided at the trial of the Lincoln conspirators. He also was chosen to accompany the body of Abraham Lincoln to Springfield, Illinois for burial in 1865.

Chaplain Andrew Hunter: (1752-1823) Born in Virginia, he was appointed a brigade chaplain in 1775, serving throughout the Revolutionary War. He received the personal and public thanks of General George Washington for valuable aid at the battle of Monmouth, New Jersey.

Society of the Cincinnati: This historic organization was founded in 1783 to preserve the ideals and fellowship of the Revolutionary War officers and later to pressure the government to honor pledges it had made to officers who fought for American independence. The concept of the Society of the Cincinnati originated with Major General Henry Knox. The first meeting of the Society was held in May 1783 at a dinner at Mount Gulian (Verplanck House) in Fishkill, New York, before the British evacuation from New York City. The meeting was chaired by Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Hamilton, and the participants agreed to stay in contact with each other after the war. Membership was generally limited to officers who had served at least three years in the Continental Army or Navy but included officers of the French Army and Navy above certain ranks. Later, membership was passed down to the eldest son after the death of the original member.

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