(1791-1868) 15th President of the United States (1857-1861). Partly printed document signed as President, 1 page, 10¼" x 16", Washington, 17 May 1860. Appointing John A. Dix "Deputy Postmaster at New York City." Countersigned by Secretary of State Lewis Cass. Fine; normal folds; a couple of small fold tears in blank, lower left area. The paper seal is intact and the document is clean. Both signatures are bold.
John A. Dix (1798-1879) was a veteran of the War of 1812 and served in the army until 1828. He became involved in New York State politics as a Jackson Democrat, serving as Adjutant General and Secretary of State. He was elected to the U.S. Senate from 1845-1849 and ran unsuccessfully for Governor in 1848, losing to Hamilton Fish. In 1859 Dix' free-soil policies caused him to switch to the Republican party and in 1860 President James Buchanan appointed him Deputy Postmaster for New York City. In 1861, Buchanan would appoint him Secretary of the Treasury. In this position, with the Civil War about to begin, Dix fired off his famous Flag Dispatch to a Treasury official in New Orleans: "If anyone attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot." The telegram was intercepted by the Confederates, but the message made its way into the press and Dix became a hero in the North.
On August 7, 1861, President Lincoln commissioned Dix a major general of volunteers, to rank from May 16, 1861 [this commission is offered in this sale], making Dix outrank all other volunteer officers until the end of the war. At the age of 63, Dix was considered too old for field service; he performed department and garrison duties for the duration of the war, his most important contribution being the suppression of the New York draft riots in 1863. After resigning from the service in November 1865, Dix served as minister to France, then as governor of New York. He is buried in Trinity Cemetery in New York City.
Estimated Value $1,000 - 1,500