359: UNION ARMY CONTRACTOR LETTER GROUPING
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Lot 0359 Details
A rare war-date Union army contractor's archive of six mostly 4to. letters dating between May and October 1863, by New York businessman Philo Durfee who was hoping to win a government contract for producing a superior quality army blanket to be sold to the government. In 1863, Durfee sought the help of James Curtis Booth (1810-1888) one of the country's most well respected chemists to inspect his blankets. In part: "...[Durfee to Booth, New York, May 19, 1863]...I have...this day sent you four Saturated Water Proof Blankets which I submit for tests on trial. The blankets are in material in oil respects the same previously submitted...of material they differ. They are numbered 1 to 3...my object is to improve...I will call at your office Monday...[War Department official J. W. Torney to Booth Washington, D. C., May 19]...Philo Durfee...who has visited with your certificate as to the quality of his blankets, returned to-day-having had a most satisfactory interview with the Department, owing chiefly to your examination of the blankets. He asks nothing but...to be useful to the government...[Durfee to Booth, New York, May 20]...I hand you with this the letter of Col. Torney...I...concluded to visit you on Tuesday with some samples of the Linen Blankets and Ponchos for your inspection. We are making them as you suggested on stronger, heavier linen fabric than the one you did inspect and without the glaze...[Durfee to Booth, New York Aug. 14]...I wish to visit you on or about the 20th inst. for the purpose of having you examine some samples of water-proof blankets...will you be at home at that time...[Durfee to Booth, New York Sept. 28]...your certifts. of tests of the two Blankets...[is] duly recd...I am disappointed as they were in all respects precisely the same as...one of four you tested...which done so well...enclosed please find ten dollars to pay your bill...[Durfee to Booth, New York Oct. 1]...I am happy to comply with your kind offer to examine two [?] of the Blankets and I send them...by Adams Express...I would like to view the Blankets and your report Monday...". On June 30, 1863, Durfee contracted with the government to supply 25,000 waterproof blankets while in 1863 and 1864 he had orders totaling 70,000 for linen haversacks. Worthy of further research. Overall very good.