Specializing in Authentic Civil War Artifacts
  • General Lorenzo Thomas

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    Genera Lorenzo Thomas - Inventory Number: AUT 020

    Original Wartime CDV of General Lorenzo Thomas – Seated view CDV with good contrast Marked: George Tolman Boston.  Accompanied by a bold ink signature with rank.

    Lorenzo Thomas (October 26, 1804 – March 2, 1875) was a career United States Army officer who was Adjutant General of the Army at the beginning of the American Civil War.   After the war, he was appointed temporary Secretary of War by President Andrew Johnson, precipitating Johnson's impeachment.

    Just before the start of the Civil War, Thomas was promoted to colonel and adjutant general of the U.S. Army on March 7, 1861. On August 10, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln appointed Thomas a brigadier general in the regular army, to rank from August 3, 1861, the date Lincoln sent the nomination to the U.S. Senate for confirmation.  The Senate confirmed the appointment on August 5, 1861.  Camp Thomas, a Regular Army training base in Columbus, Ohio, was named in his honor in July 1861.  He held the position of adjutant general until he retired in 1869, except for a special assignment to recruit African-American troops in the Military Division of the Mississippi from 1863 to 1865.

    Thomas did not get along well with Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and this assignment outside of Washington, D.C., was considered a form of banishment.  Many historians have claimed Thomas was banished in disgrace after conspiring to defame Union General William T. Sherman as insane. 

    From March 17 to July 23, 1862, he served as the chairman of the War Board, the organization that assisted President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary Stanton in the management of the War Department and the command of the Union armies during the period in which there was no general-in-chief.

    On April 6, 1863, General Thomas was sent by the War Department to Helena, Arkansas to recruit freedmen into the U.S. Army. He created the first black troop in Arkansas, fighting for Union side as part of Bureau of Colored Troops, which was created by the War Department on May 22, 1863.

    On March 8, 1866, President Andrew Johnson nominated Thomas to the grade of brevet major general in the regular army, to rank from March 13, 1865, and the U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment on July 14, 1866.


    Inventory Number: AUT 020