ADfS, DLC-RTL. A letter of Crafts J. Wright, Willard's Hotel, to Thomas Corwin, September 20, 1864, explains Lincoln's letter:
``Gen Baily has explained to me his application to the President to allow him to collect in New Orleans and send to his empoverished friends in the Parish of Rapides La. food & raiment. Will you allow me to say to the President through you in regard to this mission.
``From many years intercourse in Louisiana I have a large acquaintance & this has been renewed the last nine months of being in N O. I have seen hundreds, who have been in the Red River country, since the withdrawal of Gen Banks and the vials of confederate wrath have been poured upon those who were seduced into open & manifest efforts of co operation, believing they would be protected. Hundreds & hundreds of the friends of the President . . . have been reduced to beggary. . . . The enemy have no supplies to give---and these people must starve if their friends in N O will not be allowed to send them food. You cannot I know carry on this . . . through officers of Government. . . . They will allow a responsible citizen . . . to go on such a mission & protect in the delivery to them it is designed for . . . but it cannot be done officially. . . .
``I know Gen B. he is entirely reliable & knows the wants of his neighbours. . . . Why not then allow him to collect gratuitously & take the donations of food & raiment. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).
General Canby did not reply to Lincoln's letter until December 19:
``Genl Baily has just handed me your note of Sept. 24 [sic] in relation to the destitute union people in the neighborhood of Alexandria La. I would long since have sent supplies to them . . . if I could have had even a doubtful assurance that they would have reached their destination, or that they could have been applied to the benefit of those for whom they were intended, but my own convictions have been confirmed by the assurances of loyal persons living within the rebel lines, that any attempt of this kind would not be to their benefit and would only compromize them with the rebel authorities, and that any general system of supplying the inhabitants beyond the lines would have no other result than to prolong the war and their own suffering.
``The policy of the rebels in this respect is unrelenting. . . . I am satisfied that until we can break the armed power of the rebels we can do nothing that will not aid our enemies and injure our friends.
``My own sympathies have run strongly counter to my judgment and it has been with great pain that I have felt myself constrained to pursue a different course, not only as a question of policy, but (in the end) one of humanity. . . .'' (Ibid.).
General Baily has not been further identified.