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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/31/2006
George Foster Robinson (1832-1907) A 32-year-old Union sergeant, Robinson was recovering from battlefield wounds when he was temporarily assigned as an attendant to Seward. The secretary was bedridden because of injuries received when a carriage overturned 10 days before. Lewis Payne, a Booth co-conspirator, burst into Seward's home about 10 p.m. Robinson struggled with Payne before being struck in the head with the handle of his large knife. Stunned and bleeding, Robinson rose up and jumped on the assassin who was stabbing Seward. After a struggle, in which Robinson was also severely injured, Payne escaped. Robinson and Seward's daughter then managed to stem the flow of blood from the secretary's wounds. This lot includes Robinson's lengthy 12-page testimonial document detailing his heroic efforts to save the life of Secretary of State William H. Seward on the day of the Lincoln assassination...a deed for which he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. It is possibly the most detailed document extant of this historical event. Also included is his WIA 1864 Civil War diary while he served with Company B of the 8th Maine. The typed Document is signed in ink by Robinson and contains some of his pencil corrections. It is titled “An Account of the Attempted Assassination of Secy. Seward, Apr. 14, 1865.” with some fantastic content, it reads in part: “...On the 20th of May, I was wounded in the right leg, below the knee, by what proved to be a poisoned shot, which, though slight as a simple shot wound, nearly proved fatal, and did not heal entirely for more than a year and a half...On the morning of April 11th, 1865, I was surprised by receiving an order to report at the residence of the Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secy. of State of the United States, for duty as one of the two night nurses until further orders. Mr. Seward had been thrown from his carriage a few days before by the horses taking fright and running away, and had his right arm fractured, also the lower jaw on the right side...the Army Surgeon, who had charge of the case, did not have confidence in any Civilian nurse...One of them had indulged in too much wine...and a request for ‘A Man Who Did Not Drink’ caused me to be detailed in his stead...On the night of the assassination, it was my turn on duty from 2 AM until 8 AM, but while at dinner, Mrs. Seward expressed a wish for me to take the first watch, from 8 PM to 2 AM...Some where near 10 o'clock, we heard some one coming up the stairs, stepping very heavy...The person which proved later to be Payne, had rung the bell, and represented himself as a messenger from Dr. Verdi...The porter informed him that he could not see Mr. Seward or give him the medicine...Payne had gradually worked inside the door...Mr. Frederick [Seward] met him in the upper hall, near the Secretary’s door, where quite a conversation was held....we heard the sound of blows, and subdued but excited voices in the hall...I ran at once to the door to see what was the matter...supposing it was some drunken man...When I opened the door, Payne stood close to it and about to open it. Behind him I saw Mr. Frederick, with blood running from several wounds on his head, and at the same instant saw the flash of a knife as Payne struck at my breast..he hit me in the forehead, instead of the breast as intended...The blow prostrated me momentarily, and he rushed past me and Miss Seward (who was standing near where I had fallen) sprang upon the bed, and commenced stabbing vigorously but wildly at Mr. Seward’s neck....It being a very low bed, in order to reach him, Payne was obliged to kneel, on the near side of the bed, and placing his left hand, in which he held a revolver, on Mr. Seward’s breast to support himself, began stabbing at his neck as before stated. Mr. Seward, who had been sleeping in a half-sitting position, threw back his head with an exclamation of surprise and alarm at the sudden awakening. I sprang to my feet and the first thought was a chair, to strike the assassin with, as he bent over on his hands and knees on the bed...I was left with my bare hands...As I stepped on the bed, Payne cut Mr. Seward for the first time, cutting down through his right cheek...and the side of his neck, just missing the jugular vein, and with his arm raised for another low, which I saw would reach Mr. Seward before mine could him. My only chance was to destroy the stroke, by catching his arm from behind as I stood over him. This I did, and he succeeded in only slightly cutting the neck on the side next to him...As I was dragging him off from Mr. Seward and the bed, he struck over his shoulder at me, cutting my right shoulder to the bone in two places, only missing the large artery, by less than half an inch,...[Payne] cut or wounded five persons, but none of them fatally, although more or less seriously. After wounding Hansell, he continued his flight to the street, where he mounted his horse and fled. In mounting he drew another pistol from his boot, and in gathering up his reins dropped the knife, which was eventually presented to me by the order of the Secretary of War, Mr. Edwin M. Stanton. On being satisfied that Payne had left the house, I turned my attention as well as I could to the Secretary...[who] had fallen to the floor, where I found him in a faint from loss of blood...on Miss Fannie’s inquiry if her father was dead, I told her he was not, as his heart continued to beat...Gen’l Barnes was one of the first to arrive. Entering the room, he came to the foot of the bed in a sort of hesitating, dazed manner, and inquired if the Sec’y was much hurt. I replied I though he was, but he could tell better. Then coming round to me, (as I thought to examine the Sec’y) he took hold of me, and indicated by a movement of the head to rise up from the kneeling position I was in; then cautioning me not to talk aloud, whispered to me that the President had been shot at Ford’s Theater. I replied in the same manner ‘Where’s Stanton, Johnson and the rest of the Cabinet Officers?’ He replied ‘My God! what do you mean?’ and my answer was ‘It looks like a plot to clean out the entire Government if possible.’...In 1871, March 1st, Congress voted me a Medal and $6,000 cash, in consideration of the part taken by me in the affair. The Medal is one of the largest ever awarded, being about three inches in diameter, and contains $225 gold....On one side is a likeness of myself in the center, and surrounding it the following legend: ‘To George F. Robinson, Awarded by the Congress of the United States, March 1st, 1871; For his Heroic Conduct on the 14th of April 1865, in Saving the Life of the Honorable William H. Seward, then Secretary of State of the United States.’ On the other side is a representation of a scene in the struggle between Payne and myself in Mr. Seward’s room...” This document contains a great deal of additional detailed content. VG. The diary is pocket size, with pencil entries and ID'd in ink on the inside leaf “George F. Robinson Island Falls Aroostook County, Maine, and in pencil “G.F. Robinson Co. B, 8th Maine.” with some entries reading “...[1/4/64]went to brickyard point on hog Island for brick to build an oven. Was fired on by negro pickets of first SC Regt...[1/29] 15 of Cap. Bezonta [?] Co. - Colored deserted in a squad with their guns & equipment...[1/30] saw Reb patrol...[2/1] went over to the negro village...[3/15] exchanged rifles with him. Got a bronzed one...[3/28] Tobias Lord shot 7 PM while coming from Beaufort in a boat with Capt...by a 56 NY pickett on Ladies Island...[4/13] orders came at 2 this morning to pack up & report at Beaufort as soon as possible...went on board...to go north...[4/14] one of the NH boys fell from the mast-head and was killed last night...[5/6] started for Petersburg expected to go directly in to action but marched and counter marched all day without seeing a reb...[5/7] A heavy skirmish on the railroad between Petersburg & Richmond Va, 5 miles from the former. Our forces victorious. We were drawn up & expecting to go in but did not...[5/9] Moved on Petersburg at daylight. Tore up a long piece of the Petersburg and Richmond railroad. Began the attack at noon. Drove the Rebs at all points with small loss to us and heavy to them...[5/10] the rebs came down from Richmond and attacked our flank but got badly flogged. We lost but few in killed and wounded. Our brigade returned to headquarters...[5/15] marched up the turnpike to within 9 miles of Richmond then off through the river to and opposite the rebel right. Went to within short rifle range of their works...[5/16] the rebs charged our right of our brigade with 20,000...after a desperate fight of 5 hours we had to fall back about a mile. Our loss 87 in all...[5/18] were not disturbed on our post till 8 in the morning when we were drove back on the reserve then we drove the rebs. We were in the fight till 1 1/2 PM when we were relieved...[5/20] Company of our regiment were detailed for reserve. The picket fell back on us...we charged & lost 24 out of 49 men in our company...but we drove the rebs. I was wounded...[5/21] All the wounded brought to rock point on the Appomattox river & put on boats to go to the different hospitals...” Much more on his recovery with entries until the first week of December. VG. Two fantastic and historic items pertaining to the most important events of this American heroes life.
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Congressional Gold Medal winner George F. Robinson's 1864 Civil War diary and his own testimonial document recounting the day he saved Secretary of State Seward's life on the day of the Lincoln assas

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $5,287.50
Estimate: $4,000 - $6,000
Auction closed on Wednesday, May 31, 2006.
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