ABRAHAM LINCOLN - LETTER - SIGNED - 1863 - COURT-MARTIAL - WEST POINT CADET
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ABRAHAM LINCOLN - LETTER - SIGNED - 1863 - COURT-MARTIAL - WEST POINT CADET:
Autograph Letter1 page with integral leaf, 5" x 8", March 18, 1893, in black inkon Executive Mansion, Washington, letterheadSigned: "A. Lincoln"Integral blank with an autograph endorsement signedby Holt and clerical endorsement from the Adjunct General's office.To Judge Advocate General Holt:Lincoln requests his Judge Advocate General to investigate the"Strong Mitigating Circumstances" surrounding the court-martialof a member of the West Point Class of 1861."It is said Lieut. John Benson [Williams], of the 3rd regular infantry,has been sentenced by a Military Commission, to be dismissed the service. /I have some reason to believe there are strong mitigating circumstances inthis case, which the Commission perhaps, did not deem competent for them toconsider. / I will thank you to procure the record, examine it and report it to me..."Holt forwarded Lincoln's letter to the Adjunct General, noting that "No record orreport in regard to [the Williams case] has been received at this office." The letterwas returned to Holt, accompanied by the record of Williams' court-martial anddocketed "Please see papers within."After studying the record, Holt made a lengthy report to Secretary of War Stanton,March 30, 1863, which survives in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. Holtdismissed the "mitigating circumstances" referenced by Lincoln - Williams'ssupposedly "severe sickness" - and concluded that "It is evident that Lieut. Williamsleft his command on the battlefield and returned to Washington, without leave and inknown violation of orders and of his duty...[He] has shown himself disqualified for theprofession of arms."On April 8th, Stanton, in turn forwarded Holt's deposition to the President, "asrequested by his note on the 18th Ulto" (that is, the present letter). Lincoln endedthe matter with his own terse endorsement on April 11th: "I decline to interfere onBehalf of Lieut. Williams" (Basler 4:169). Although referred to in Basler's noteregarding Lincoln's endorsement, the present letter does not appear in "TheCollected Words of Abraham Lincoln".
Condition: very goodAbraham Lincoln was an American statesman, lawyer and 16th President of the United States;one of the most important figures in American history. He led the nation through the Civil War,preserved the Union, abolished slavery. On April 14, 1865 Lincoln was assassinated byConfederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.
Born: 1809, Hodgenville, Kentucky; died 1865, Washington, D.C..
George HouleHoule Rare Books & Autographs
Palm Springs, California
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