Lincoln the Letter Writer

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A letter President Lincoln sent days before Christmas in 1863 reportedly sold at auction last week for $60,000. President Lincoln was asking the U.S. military to allow his wife's cousins to return peacefully to their plantation. He wrote the letter on December 21 to ensure the Craig family's safety during the Civil War. Mrs. Craig was Mary Todd Lincoln’s first cousin.

According to a transcript from Raab, the letter reads:

Mr. and Mrs. Craig, of Arkansas, whose plantation, situated upon the Mississippi River a few miles below Helena, has been desolated during the present war, propose returning to reoccupy and cultivate said plantation; and it is my wish that they be permitted to do so, and that the United States military forces in that vicinity will not molest them or allow them to be molested, as long as the said Mr. and Mrs. Craig shall demean themselves as peaceful, loyal citizens of the United States.”

According to news reports, the letter sold for its expected value to an unnamed buyer who lived in the Northwest. Lincoln documents have historically sold for millions. In 2012, a copy of the Thirteenth Amendment endorsed by the former president sold for nearly $2.5 million at Sotheby’s. In 2016, a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Lincoln also sold at the auction house for more than $2 million.
 

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