• [Gettysburg, Philadelphia Defense] Telegram Instructs Maj. Gen. Couch To Detain Gen. Dana In Philadelphia

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    Offering a one-page somewhat terse telegram, from Philadelphia, very likely dictated to a clerk at the Atlantic and Ohio Telegraph Lines, on behalf of H.W. Halleck, dated at Washington, [July] 20, 1863, instructing Maj. Gen. Darius Couch as follows, “You are at liberty to retain Genl [Napoleon J.T.] Dana in Phila[Delphia] or to employ him elsewhere.”  The telegram is signed “H.W. Hallock,” an apparent misspelling on the part of the clerk, who should have spelled the last name Halleck.  The reason for Dana’s retention is unclear. The date, as noted on the verso, follows Gettysburg and Dana’s defense of Philadelphia before, during and after the campaign. On other occasions, Dana was sent to Philadelphia to recover from illness or wounds a number of times. Dana briefly led the 2nd Division of Couch’s Department of the Susquehanna from July 11 – 15, 1863.  Both Dana and Couch fought at Gettysburg.

    DANA (April 15, 1822 – July 15, 1905) fought with distinction, entering the army as a colonel of the 1st Minnesota Voluntary Infantry Regiment on October 2, 1861. Dana helped lead his troops into a number of battles, not all successfully.  He and his men took part in the Union fiasco at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff on October 21. In 1862, he was appointed brigadier general and given command of the 3rd Brigade of the 2nd Division in the Union II Corps. He led the brigade throughout the Peninsula Campaign in the spring and summer of 1862, participating in the Siege of Yorktown, the battles of Seven Pines, White Oak Swamp, Glendale and Mavern Hill. He became ill at Mavern Hill and was sent to Philadelphia to recover. He remained there for six weeks, was declared fit for duty near the beginning of the Maryland Campaign and rejoined his command.  Dana was also wounded in the Battle of Antietam. 

    COUCH (July 23, 1822 – February 12, 1897) fought notably in the Peninsula and Fredericksburg campaigns of 1862 and the Chancellorsville and Gettysburg campaigns of 1863 and led divisions in both the Eastern and Western theaters. Militia under his command played a strategic role during the Gettysburg Campaign in delaying the advance of Confederate troops and preventing their crossing the Susquehanna River, critical to Pennsylvania’s defense. 

    HALLECK (January 16, 1814 – January 9, 1872) was married to Elizabeth Hamilton, the granddaughter of Alexander Hamilton. He was ordered to California at the beginning of the Mexican War and essentially drafted the state’s Constitution. Hallock was a Major General of the Union Armies during the Civil War, preceding General Ulysses S. Grant. He served as General-in-Chief. Early in the war, he was a senior commander in the Western Theater. During that time, the Union armies in the east were defeated and the troops under Halleck’s command won many important victories. Halleck developed rivalries with his subordinate generals, such as Ulysses S. Grant and Don Carlos Buell. In July 1862, when George McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign failed, Halleck was promoted to general-in-chief.  He was a cautious general who believed strongly in thorough preparations for battle over quick aggressive action.  President Lincoln once described him as “little more than a first-rate clerk.” In March 1863, Grant was promoted to general-in-chief and Halleck was relegated to chief-of-staff.

    Light toning, folds, in pencil. Noted on the verso “Retaining Genl Dana July 20, 1863.  A nice Civil War document involving two generals who fought at Gettysburg.

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