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George T. Brown, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, Serving the Summons on President Johnson.


TitleGeorge T. Brown, Sergeant-at-Arms of the Senate, Serving the Summons on President Johnson.
Artist/MakerUnidentified
after Theodore R. Davis
Harper's Weekly
Date1868-03-28
MediumWood engraving, black and white
Dimensions h. 11.125 x  w. 9.125 in. ( h. 28.2575 x  w. 23.1775 cm)
Credit LineU.S. Senate Collection
Accession Number38.00333.001


  • Object Description
  • On the afternoon of Saturday, March 7, 1868, Senate Sergeant at Arms George T. Brown traveled from the Capitol to the White House to serve President Andrew Johnson with a summons to his Senate impeachment trial. The "Writ of Summons," signed by Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, was the formal notification by the Senate that impeachment proceedings had begun. It is reported that the president read the statement and returned it to Brown, announcing that he "would attend to the matter."1 The historic encounter, captured in this engraving by artist Theodore R. Davis, is one of the only existing images of Brown. As Senate sergeant at arms from 1861 to 1869, Brown served as chief protocol and law enforcement officer for the Senate. In that capacity he controlled access to the chamber and galleries, ensured that Senate rules were followed, handled special events such as inaugurations and funerals, and, when necessary, compelled attendance of absent members.

    1. "The Impeachment Trial," Harper’s Weekly, 28 March 1868, 198.