Hitchock's biographical details can be read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethan_A._Hitchcock_(general)
Known as the "Pen of the Army," Ethan Allen Hitchcock was recognized by his contemporaries as an avid reader of philosophy and a published scholar. By the time of his death, Hitchcock had amassed a large private library of philosophical texts, including over 250 volumes on the subject of alchemy. This collection was widely regarded as one of the finest private holdings of rare alchemical works and is preserved by St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Through Remarks upon Alchemy and the Alchemists and other writings, Hitchcock argued that the alchemists were actually religious philosophers writing in symbolism. In Problems of Mysticism and its Symbolism, the Viennese psychologist Herbert Silberer credited Hitchcock with helping to open the way for his explorations of the psychological content of alchemy. Hitchcock was a Rosicrucian and a member in Washington D. C. club along with Lincoln.
I'm wagering the "Warren Chase" that the book is inscribed to is Warren Chase (1813-1891) :
One of the first apostles of Spiritualism in America. Born in Pittsfield, New Hampshire, Chase began to study mesmerism in Southport, Wisconsin, by 1843. He was street commissioner and road master at the time, and discussed both this subject and Charles Fourier's scheme of socialism in the local lyceum through that winter. The result was a socialist settlement in May 1844 in Fond-du-Lac County. The Wisconsin Phalanx, as the community was known, lasted for six years. It was the only one of the experiments that yielded, at the time of dis-solution, substantial profit to its members. After the dissolution Chase began to take a more active part in politics, became a senator in Wisconsin in 1848, and was nominated for governor the following year.
The philosophy of Andrew Jackson Davis made a deep impression on him, and when the Spiritualist movement was born, he became its untiring apostle for over thirty years. His Spiritualist experiences are embodied in his Forty Years on the Spiritual Rostrum (1888) and his socialist activities in The Life Line of the Lone One, an Autobiography of the World's Child (1857).
My first awareness of Hitchcock was via Manley P. Hall's reprint of The Red Book of Appin which I still have in my library. The Hitchcock collection of Alchemical books and manuscripts at the St. Louis Mercantile Library can be found here: http://www.umsl.edu/mercantile/special_collections/slma-108.html
With the following description:
M-108: The Ethan Allen Hitchcock Alchemy Collection
HISTORY: For over a millenium, the field of alchemy gathered to it strands of religion, the occult, chemistry, pure science, astrology and magic to form a broad world view that was, quite apart from the stereotypical image of the charlatan gold maker, concerned with the formation of a basic knowledge on all aspects of life’s great mysteries. Alchemy was a beacon for centuries for those looking for a philosophical basis to the better understanding of life and its philosophical underpinnings. Over the centuries, certain individuals stand out for their authorship of vast texts in this philosophy; others as collectors of a literary genre.Ethan Allen Hitchcock showed both of these tendencies as author and collector regarding the subject of alchemy. Born in 1798, this soldier, the grandson of Ethan Allen of Revolutionary War fame, and military tactical expert and instructor at West Point, continued to collect and author treatises on his true avocation, a deep interest in alchemical philosophy. Hitchcock lived intermittently in St. Louis, reached the rank of Major General, and produced a valuable set of memoirs concerning his life on the frontier and in service during the Mexican War. At the time of his death, he had amassed over 250 volumes on the subject of alchemy, which his nephew, Henry Hitchcock, a St. Louis attorney, presented to the Mercantile Library on July 17, 1884.
The collection, originally numbered item by item, has been virtually preserved as the day acquired. During the past century, the Hitchcock collection served to attract related books to the Library, and these materials were added to the collection from stack holdings as the collection was studied and catalogued in the 1980s to modern bibliographical standards under the terms of a grant for this purpose given by National Endowment for the Humanities.
SCOPE: This significant private library is a fascinating testament to the tastes of the remarkable individual, E.A. Hitchcock, who was so involved in important military and political events of his day. Not only Hitchcock’s philosophical interests, but also the history of science to his time is represented in this collection, which spans the Renaissance and early modern period, to the nineteenth century.
HOLDINGS: 350 bound volumes of early manuscripts and printed books, some illuminated.
ACCESS: Special Collection M-108 has been catalogued and fully described on OCLC. A published calendar exists, A Guide to the Ethan Allen Hitchcock Alchemy Collection in the St. Louis Mercantile Library, (1990). Some of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned or photographed, depending on condition.
Barrett's The Magus "borrows" wholesale from Aggrippa's The Three Books of Occult Philosophy, to a degree akin to the borrowing from Eliphas Levi's Transcendental Magic by Confederate General Albert Pike in his Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Rite of Scottish Freemasonry.
I have not fully researched if there is any explicit evidence that Pike (or Hitchcock for that matter) actually practiced ritual magic, but it is interesting to note that two generals who fought in the Civil War were substantially familiar with the works of Francis Barrett and Eliphas Levi.
Some information on Gen. Pike can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Pike
Albert Pike (December 29, 1809–April 2, 1891) was an attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C. (in Judiciary Square) mostly due to his masonic connection with President Andrew Johnson, who pardoned Pike for treason after the American Civil War.
...Pike was faced with charges that his troops had scalped soldiers in the field. Maj. Gen. Thomas C. Hindman also charged Pike with mishandling of money and material, ordering his arrest. Both these charges were later found to be considerably lacking in evidence; nevertheless Pike, facing arrest, escaped into the hills of Arkansas, sending his resignation from the Confederate Army on July 12. He was at length arrested on November 3 under charges of insubordination and treason, and held briefly in Warren, Texas, but his resignation was accepted on November 11 and he was allowed to return to Arkansas.
Hitchcock was from Vermont and wound up in Missouri. Pike was from Mass. but lived and traveled in Missouri, Arkansas and other places before and after the war. I have not researched enough to find out of Hitchcock and Pike had any interaction or knowledge of one another.
An interesting chapter in the history of the venerable Occult-Military-Intelligence Complex.