Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 5.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Gillet F. Watson [1]

Gillet F. Watson Executive Mansion,
Williamsburg, Va. Washington, August 21, 1862.

Your Telegram in regard to the Lunatic Assylum has been received. It is certainly a case of difficulty; but if you can not remain, I can not conceive who, under my authority, can. Remain as long as you safely can, and provide as well as you can for the poor inmates of the Institution. A. LINCOLN.

Annotation

[1]   ALS, RPB. Watson was appointed superintendent of the asylum by Governor Peirpoint after Union forces occupied Williamsburg. He telegraphed Lincoln on August 20 that ``Williamsburg is being evacuated by the Union forces. Under these circumstances the safety of my life requires that I shall leave in a very few hours. When I leave all the officers and servants will leave so that the unfortunate inmates will be left locked up without any one to minister unto them. I have made known this condition of things to Genl Dix and Genl McClellan and they have done nothing! I now communicate it to you which is the last effort I can make.'' (DLC-RTL). McClellan's telegram of the same day explained: ``Williamsburg is not evacuated by our forces but will be held . . . for several days. When applied to furnish medical attendance & servants to enable the present employees to run away I took the ground that the superintendent must make these arrangements himself. I recommended that they be required to provide employees who can & will remain. There is time enough to do this.''