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JAMES BUCHANAN and ISAAC TOUCEY. Partly Printed DS: "James Buchanan" as President and "Isaac Toucey" as Secretary of the Navy, 1p, 13½x16. Washington, 1858 June 11. On vellum. 3-inch diameter orange seal affixed to naval vignette at lower margin. President Buchanan appoints Henry L. Howison "a Midshipman in the Navy of the United States, from the 11th of June 1858...This Warrant is to continue in force during the pleasure of the President of the United States...." HENRY L. HOWISON (1837-1914) had just been graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in June, 1858, when he received this appointment. When the Civil War began three years later, Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles found the force ill-prepared. He had only 8,800 in personnel, including Howison. Only 42 of 76 vessels were ready to close 185 registered harbors in 12,000 miles of indented coastline (exclusive of rivers). By the War's end, the Union Navy grew to 58,000 sailors and 671 vessels, making it the strongest in the world. From September 1861 to May 1864, Lieutenant Howison was Executive Officer of three South Atlantic Blockading Squadron ships: the cruiser Augusta and the monitors Nantucket and Catskill, all of which were engaged in wartime operations off Charleston, South Carolina. He then spent nearly a year in the Gulf of Mexico with the cruiser Bienville, acting as her Commanding Officer during some of this time. On August 1, 1870, Lieutenant Commander Howison relieved Lieutenant Commander George Dewey as Captain of the U.S.S. Constitution. Howison was appointed Commander by President Grant on August 12, 1872, and was later promoted to Captain. In 1896, the battleship U.S.S. Oregon was commissioned with Captain Howison as its first commander. He was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1898. ISAAC TOUCEY, Buchanan's only secretary of the navy (1857-1861), was a northerner with southern sympathies. During his tenure, he was accused of favoring the cause of the seceding states by deliberately sending some of the best vessels of the Navy to distant seas to prevent their use against the Confederates, a charge he denied. Lightly creased with folds. Vertical fold touches the "B" in Buchanan and the "I" and first "a" in Isaac. Sporadically yellowed.

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Born: April 23, 1791 in Cove Gap, Pennsylvania
Died: June 1, 1868 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Born: November 15, 1792 in Newtown, Connecticut
Died: July 30, 1869 in Hartford, Connecticut

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