[Autograph Manuscript Signed] Copy of "The Vacant Chair", Civil War Song, Written and Signed by Henry S. Washburn.
Newton Centre, MA: 1891.  pp. Bifolium. 4 x 6.75 inches. Very good, folded, toned, scattered remnants on verso, contents clean. Item #44624
Later copy written and signed by Washburn of his Union poem, "The Vacant Chair", signed in Newton Centre on March 14, 1892. Written above Washburn's signature is the poem's original date and location: Worcester, November 16, 1861.
Henry S. Washburn (1813-1903) "wrote 'The Vacant Chair' in 1861 during the first year of the American Civil War, to memorialize the death of John William Grout, known as Willie, an eighteen-year-old lieutenant in the Union Army from Massachusetts. In his book, The Vacant Chair and Other Poems, Washburn tells the story of how Grout lost his life, selflessly helping his men retreat across the Potomac river under heavy enemy fire at the battle of Ball’s Bluff, Virginia, on October 21st in that first year of war. Mortally wounded, his body, and those of the men who fell with him, floated down river. He was not found until November 5th, identified by his clothing and the letters in his pockets. He was returned to his family, and was buried on November 12th, shortly before the nation, and Willie’s own family, observed Thanksgiving on the 28th. The song became popular throughout the remainder of the war, as many families would experience a 'vacant chair'." (blogs.lib.ku.edu/spencer/tag/henry-stevenson-washburn/).