A Civil War-era letter written by Abraham Lincoln that went missing at an unknown date has surfaced and has been returned to the National Archives .

Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero will release the information in a brief video that will be made available to the press later today. He appears with The video features Bill Panagopulos of Alexander Autographs, Inc and Alexander Historical Auctions of Stamford, Conn., who returned the documents. Update, 2:32 p.m.: Watch the video after the jump.

An Archives employee saw the document listed for sale in 2009 and recognized it as belonging to the government. When contacted, Panagopous who was representing a family from Rhode Island in the sale, had already sold the documents to a New York dealer. Upon realizing the provenance of the papers, Panagopulos refunded the purchase price to the dealer to get them back and the Rhode Island family, in turn, agreed to refund the money they had been paid so the papers could be retuned to the government.

The letter is an endorsement of the appointment of Rev. Henry Edwards to administer to injured soldiers at a Hagerstown, Md., hospital on Nov. 12, 1862, following the Battle of Antietam. Three surgeons had written him a week earlier asking for a chaplain to be assigned to the hospital.

The Archives is actively seeking the return of government files. In 2007, 160 stolen items were advertised on eBay that had been taken from an Archives facility. Those papers were also returned.


CIVIL WAR 150: Ongoing special coverage of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War