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

To Joseph Hooker [1]

Major General Hooker Executive Mansion
Cincinnati, O Washington, Jan. 11. 1865

It is said that you have ordered Andrew Humphreys to imprisonment at hard labor, in accordance with his original sentence, onPage  211 the ground that it was not legally competent for Gen. Hovey, having approved the sentence to afterwards modify it. While I incline to the belief that you are technically right, please let Gen. Hovey's modification be acted upon until further order from me.



[1]   ALS, DNA WR RG 107, Presidential Telegrams, I, 284. See Lincoln to Stanton, October 22, 1864, supra. General Alvin P. Hovey in command at Indianapolis, Indiana, answered Lincoln's telegram by letter on the same day:

``In answer to your telegram . . . `Duplicate of Message sent to Maj. Genl. Hooker' I have the honor herewith to transmit a copy of my communication to Genl. Hooker dated January 10th 1865.''


``I have just received your letter of the 6th Inst. requesting me to carry into effect the sentence of the Military Commission in the case of Andrew Humphreys. I herewith send you a copy of the order promulgated, and most respectfully ask your attention to the following points: First, your letter doubts my authority to organize a military commission.

``Now if my letter of instructions from the Secretary of War does not give me that power, the trial is void and the sentence cannot be legally carried into effect. If I had the right to convene the court, then by the acts of Congress, Approved July 2nd 1864, I am clothed with the full power to pardon the convicted or mitigate his punishment. . . .

``In my opinion there are two errors committed by the commission, on the trial of Humphreys, which would, before a civil court reverse his case. . . .

``With a defective record, with the light testimony, and with a strong feeling in the public mind in his favor, I deemed it prudent and politic to release him.

``He resides in Green County, an inaccessible part of the State, and his re-arrest would be attended, at this time, with considerable feeling.

``Believing, as I do, that my action has been entirely lawful, and for the good of the country, I most earnestly request, that you will not order his arrest, until the president shall have acted. . . .

``The record . . . has been sent to the President more than ten days since. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).