Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Edwin M. Stanton [2]

September 20, 1864

The bearer will present the list of names contemplated within. The Provost Marshal General will please take the proper steps to have them examined, mustered in and discharged from prison, so as to be properly credited all according to the within.

Sept 20. 1864 A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   Copy, IHi; OR, III, IV, 68o. This endorsement was written on Lincoln's order to Huidekoper, September 1, supra. The date September 20, 1864, is given on the official copy, but the Official Records print it without date. On September 10, S. Newton Pettis had written Lincoln from Rock Island, Illinois, where he had gone with Lincoln's order of September 1. Colonel Huidekoper not being able to be there ``for a day or two,'' Pettis had shown the order to the commandant:

``The first remark he made was, that he had often wondered why the Government had not allowed recruiting for the army before, as well as for the Navy. The second remark was that there would be a difficulty . . . for this reason. When the first body of men were recruited for the Navy, about a hundred who had volunteered and taken the oath of allegiance were rejected by the surgeon as unfit, and were at once discharged. The next party recruited for the Navy in the same way, about the same number rejected & the order for their discharge was revoked, consequently they were thrown back into prison and have been abused by the rabid and malicious secesh so that many are afraid to come out for . . . volunteering, lest they are rejected. . . .

``I read your order over again . . . and gave it as my opinion that you never intended to have a man remanded after he had volunteered and taken the oath even if he was rejected. . . . I also told him to say to those who feared that result if they took the oath and volunteered & were rejected by the Surgeon that they would be discharged. I have no doubt the letter & spirit of your order warranted such a request. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

On September 22, Captain Henry R. Rathbone of the Twelfth U.S. Infantry was ordered to Rock Island to make a ``special inspection, under instructions to be given him by the Provost Marshal General'' of the prisoners to be enlisted (AGO Special Orders No. 315), and on the same date Lincoln wrote Grant in explanation of his action (vide infra).