It is doubtful President Fillmore paid too much attention to this letter when he received it. It would take over a decade for the irony to set in. In 1850, David Hunter was seeking a military appointment, and he asked Jefferson Davis, then a senator from Mississippi, to write a recommendation for him. Hunter had served with Davis, and the latter obliged by whipping off this nice letter to the President, in which he extolled Hunter's virtues. This would all have been a formality, and whether Davis and Hunter had further communication in the ensuing years is unknown. However, there would be contact during the Civil War, and of a much less friendly nature. Hunter was now a Union General, Davis President of the Confederacy. Hunter was a friend of President Lincoln, and committed the most grievous of wrongs in southern eyes – he raised troops of volunteer black soldiers. He also issued an order emancipating the slaves in three southern states before Lincoln did (Lincoln immediately rescinded the order). Davis issued an order that if captured, Hunter should be treated as a felon and executed. Hunter shot back a letter to Davis that if he did not rescind this order, he would hang every “Rebel officer” he captured. Fortunately, none of these executions came to pass, and Hunter would later serve on the commission set up to try the conspirators for Lincoln's assassination. Item 12 is Davis' recommendation from those early, friendlier days. $8,500.
We will conclude with an item you probably heard about in the news a couple of months ago. It is the tape of conversations on board Air Force One, as it brought back the just sworn-in President, Lyndon Johnson, from Dallas to Washington the day President Kennedy was assassinated. The existence of this tape was unknown for almost half a century. Gen. Ted Clifton, an aid to Kennedy, had two tapes made from the original, lost raw tape recording. These tapes run 2 hours and 22 minutes in length (which would not cover the full time Air Force One was in flight). An edited copy of this tape was in the possession of President Johnson, and now resides in the Johnson Library, but it runs only about one hour and 40 minutes (leading conspiracy theorists to speculate about the dark doings that had been edited out). Raab discovered the tapes in the possessions of Gen. Clifton. They donated one copy to the National Archives, and are offering the other copy for sale. Item 37. Price on request.
The Raab Collection may be reached at 800-977-8333. Their website is www.raabcollection.com.