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

To Joseph Holt [1]

Let this man, Louis A. Welton be enlarged, the sentence against him standing as a security for his good behavior. A. LINCOLN

Dec. 28. 1864.

Annotation

[1]   AES, DNA WR RG 153, Judge Advocate General, NN 2120. See Lincoln's communication to Morgan, Weed, and Raymond, August 31, supra. A letter from Welton dated October 23, 1864, undertakes to defend his action on the ground that although a contract to supply the rebels was found on his person, his intention was to use his connections in the South to obtain large amounts of cotton for the United States (DLC-RTL). On December 20, Henry T. Blow wrote Lincoln:

``From the conversation with you to day, I am encouraged to hope that you will bear with me while I say something in regard to the release of Mr. L A Welton.

``I never learned the circumstances which proved his guilt . . . until you informed me of them, but concluded of course that our Government had acted justly. . . .

``I do not hesitate to say also, that to ask the pardon of any man who has been tried and found guilty of so grave a crime . . . is a hard task, and only undertaken for the following reasons.

``Mr. Welton is the brother in law of Wm. M. Fishback one of the Editors & proprietors of the Missouri Democrat. Mr. F. is deeply attached to his wife's brother, and believes that however circumstances may have been against him, that he is innocent. . . . Mr. Fishback is loyal to the core, he has for yearsPage  188 been . . . the proprietor . . . of a paper which has done as much to further the cause of freedom & patriotism as any printed in the West. . . .

``Such a man deserves, I am sure enjoys your sympathy & respect, he prays you to pardon Welton. . . .

``I knew Welton before he acted so badly . . . and . . . if I thought for a moment, that he would ever again dishonor himself & be faithless to his . . . country, I would be the last one to appeal to you in his behalf. . . .'' (Ibid.).

Lincoln's order for Welton's release was promulgated on December 30, 1864, in AGO Special Orders No. 475.