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

To James B. Fry [1]

These two of my men---Crook & Alexander are drafted & I can not spare them. P.M.G. please fix. A. LINCOLN

March 2. 1865

Annotation

[1]   ALS-F, ICHi-MacChesney Scrapbook, XXXII, 7484. William H. Crook and Alexander Smith were members of Lincoln's bodyguard. The circumstances surrounding Lincoln's request were related by Crook:

``I was drafted, and the other guards with me. Frankly, I didn't want to go. I had served in the army already; I had a young wife and a young son at home to hold me. I couldn't afford to pay a substitute. So I joined the ranks of the people with grievances whom for some time I had been watching and went to the President. I found him in his own room, in dressing-gown and slippers. I told him that I had been drafted, and asked him if he could do anything in my case and in that of Alexander Smith, who was my special friend on the force. He listened to my story as patiently as if he had not heard hundreds like it. I like to remember how kindly he looked at me. When I had finished, he said:

`` `Well, I can't spare you. Come into my office.'

``I followed him. . . . He seated himself at the desk and wrote on a small card a note to Provost-Marshal Frye and told me to take it to him and get the answer. Years after this the Hon. Robert T. Lincoln gave me the card when he was Secretary of War, and I have it still. It reads: [as above]'' (Through Five Administrations, Reminiscences of Colonel William H. Crook, pp. 25-26).