Close But No Cigar


An eBay vendor recently listed a delegate’s ticket for the “National Union Convention”. It did not include a name or location. Visually, it had the look and feel of a Civil War era ticket. Jumping to conclusions, we thought it was a ticket to the Baltimore convention that re-nominated Lincoln for president in 1864. If correct, it would be the only example known and a stellar discovery. There was only one discrepancy… it was printed in Philadelphia by McLaughlin Brothers. As it turns out, there was another “National Union Convention” held August 14-16, 1866 in Philadelphia. That convention was en effort by pro-Johnson politicians to combat the Radical Republicans who controlled Congress and form a fusion third party whose main focus was reconciliation with the South. Accordingly, this ticket goes from being a “Great Find!” to being a scarce piece of post-Civl War ephemera worth around $100.


 We also picture a small broadside from Seneca Falls, New York. It references President Andrew Johnson and the Philadelphia convention alluded to above. Pursuant to directives adopted at Philadelphia, it calls for a meeting on September 13, 1866 to select delegates for a soldiers’ convention to be held in Cleveland. This convention did take place and was known as the “Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Convention”. Nathan Bedford Forrest and George Armstrong Custer were among the attendees. This was Custer’s sole foray into politics, as criticism directed at him for “associating” with the notorious “Wizard of the Saddle” Forrest, soured him on politics and the public arena. Johnson engaged in a “tour around the circle” that summer to gain public support. It turned out to be a public relations nightmare. A ribbon was issued for the Cleveland convention which is often attributed to the 1864 convention that nominated John C. Fremont for president. Like the ticket, it was not issued in 1864 but rather 1866. Only two years, but a BIG difference.

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