September 17, 2007

Antietam & Lee's Lost Orders

As anyone reading this blog will know, today is the 145th anniversary of the battle of Antietam. After reading an online article that discussed the enduring lure of the "lost dispatch," I realized I had an interesting piece of curiosa in my collection that tied right in to the topic.

Known as Lee's Lost Orders, it is a beautifully done facsimile reproduction of Lee's original Special Orders No. 191, as handwritten by his adjutant, R. H. Chilton, dated September 9, 1862. The 8 1/2 x 11", 2-sided original is now part of the George McClellan Papers at the Library of Congress. This facsimile was prepared as part of the "Treasures of the Library of Congress" program and is accompanied by a 7-page brochure that profiles the story of the "Lost Orders." All paperwork is then housed in a specially-made traycase that, externally, gives the appearance of a book when sitting on a bookshelf. The traycase is protected by a fragile paper wrapper.

I recall that I did not pay much for this item and bought it as nothing more than a souvenir. There is one copy for sale on ABE with an asking price of $275. In my opinion, that's way over the top...

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