"If you have never failed, you have never lived," said America's 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, a man who had weathered many previous failures in his life (including losing eight elections in his career), and yet successfully guided the United States to victory in the American Civil War. Displayed is a military commission as a Captain in the U.S. Army presented to Peter Plympton, dated March 29, 1861 (only three weeks after Lincoln's inauguration). It has been beautifully signed by Lincoln, using his full name "Abraham Lincoln" in his signature. Lincoln was inaugurated as U.S. President on March 4, 1861. The country was in turmoil at that time because, after Lincoln's election and prior to his inauguration, seven southern states had already seceded from the Union: South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas, and six of these states had declared themselves as a sovereign nation, The Confederate States of America, and had adopted a constitution. Even before Lincoln was inaugurated, the United States military was already recruiting and enlisting officers and men who would serve in an anticipated military struggle between the North and South. Thus, before he took office, Lincoln was preparing for possible military conflict with the South. Always a careful planner, Lincoln exhibited his preference for foresight when he said, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." Hence, part of Lincoln's "sharpening the axe" was his military recruitment of military officers and men. In a game of "Cat-and-Mouse," with the fate of the country hanging in the balance, Lincoln's War Department kept recruiting the military, as did the government of the rebellious South, neither side wanting to initiate the fighting, preferring to have the other side blamed for starting an armed conflict. Finally, on April 12, 1861, South Carolina attacked the United States Army at Fort Sumpter, in South Carolina, and the actual Civil War followed. The signed commission measures 15x19.4". Included in the striking overall display is an approx. 4.25x6" black & white portrait photo of Lincoln and an approx. 1x4.1" plague that reads, "Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1861-1865." The Presidential Commission, the Lincoln photo and the small plaque have been matted and framed into a single display measuring 28x30.1". Lincoln's big and bold, neatly written signature was made with a fountain pen. Also signing the military commission was Secretary of War Simon Cameron, whose signature was also written with a fountain pen. The document has the red seal of the Department of War (with a diameter of approx. 2.25"). One of the many very small "points" on the seal is missing. There are folds in the commission from its once being folded into eighths, and there is some faded handwriting from a fountain pen (source unknown) in the upper right corner. Even with the aforementioned minor defects and some expected partial fading of the handwritten sections of the commission, the document and the entire display are in very good condition. This wonderful Lincoln signed military commission comes with a PSA LOA, and it is a fascinating, historical collectible.