This document is the formal commission appointing Jesse W. Fell, a businessman and land owner from Bloomington, Illinois, as a paymaster for the Union Army. The commission is signed by Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War.
Jesse W. Fell, born in 1808, was a businessman who moved to Bloomington in 1831, primarily concerned with real estate and law. He also founded Bloomington's first newspaper, worked as an agent for the railroad, and founded Illinois State Normal University. A close friend of Abraham Lincoln, Fell was instrumental in urging Lincoln to challenge Stephen A. Douglas to their famous series of debates during the Congressional race of 1858. Fell died in Normal, Illinois, in 1887.
The commission confirms Fell's nomination and appointment as paymaster for the Union Army, with his position beginning on June 30, 1862. The commission was signed by Abraham Lincoln and Edwin Stanton on July 2, 1862.
The commission was acquired by the Illinois Historical Survey, a predecessor to the Illinois History and Lincoln Collections, in 1913, when Alice and Fannie Fell, Jesse Fell's daughters, donated a larger collection of their father's papers. Transcripts of these additional papers, including Jesse Fell's correspondence, can be found in the IHLC in the Jesse W. Fell Papers (MS 622).