The new material of unpublished Lincoln correspondence focuses mainly on the patronage appointments that the president had to handle in his daily affairs. Most of this material is endorsements and messages jotted on the reverse side of letters and requests. The works show the everyday, mundane tasks that Lincoln had to perform for both friends and political allies. From attempting to find a clerkship position for Thomas Alsop, his friend from Logan County, Illinois, to the appointment of his political ally Gustavus Koerner to the position of colonel, Lincoln was constantly beseiged and beset upon by all manner of job-seekers.

Of particular interest in the following group of correspondence is the last two letters. They show the concern that was beginning to be voiced toward money being spent out of the White House accounts and to the possibility of fraud and duplicity on the part of certain members of the White House staff.

To Simon Cameron

Mr. Myers[1] is a personal acquaintance of mine, an honest man, of good business habits; and I desire that his application be respectfully considered.


July 22, 1861

Washington City, July 19/61

His Excellency, A. Lincoln,

Prest. U.S.

Sir — Allow me, respectfully, to urge the appointment of Mr. Myers, who is known to you to a sutlers or some place connected Page  [End Page 45] with the army. Mr. M is a worthy man and his appointment would not only much oblige him but me.

Your ob't sevt.

John A. McClernand[2]

P.S. Mr. M. would prefer an official connection with the Illinois troops.


To Simon Cameron

If by law now existing, there is a vacancy of a Paymastership for Missouri Volunteers, let it be given to Mr. Crane,[3] as requested within, by Hon. F.P. Blair Jr. —[4]

A. Lincoln

July 19, 1861. [5]

House of Representatives

July 19th 1861

To the President


I have ascertainded on application to the Adjutant General that the law authoring the President to appoint a Pay Master for every two regiments of volunteers called into service, is still in force. The Adjutant General also stated to me that the Department is not now making any appointments under it, and is awaiting the confirmation of those already made. There has been no legislation at this session of Congress to vary this law, and inasmuch as there has been but three such appointments made in Missouri, and as we have ten regiments, we are entitled to two additional appointments. I shall be introduced to you the other day by me and spoke to you in reference to this appointment.

Very Respectfully,

Frank. P. Blair Page  [End Page 46]

To Thomas A. Scott[6]

[August 2, 1861]


A. Lincoln

An appropreation should be made to meet expenses of collecting & organizing volunteers under the law authorizing the President to accept the services of 500,000 volunteers twenty millions of dollars.

I think the above very important.

Thomas A. Scott

Acting Secy of War

To Simon Cameron

I believe the appointment of John Belser,[7] to be Assistant Adjutant General, to Gen. Grant is proper; but, to be sure, sent the appointment to Gen. Grant, to be delivered or not, in his discretion.

A. Lincoln

August 13, 1861

Springfield, Illinois

August 7th 1861

Hon Abraham Lincoln

President of the United States.


I respectfully request to be appointed Assistant Adjutant Gen- Page  [End Page 47] eral of Illinois Volunteers, to be attached to the staff of Brigadier General Grant.

I remain Sir -

Very respectfully

Your obdt Servt

John Belser

To Simon Cameron

The writer of the within is a good Unionman though not a Republican.[8] He was with me in the Ills. Legislature more than 25 years ago. He is a reliable man, and if there were a place for him he would fill it well.

A. Lincoln

Sep. 6, 1861


Sept. 5, 1861

His Excellency A. Lincoln

President U.S.


By your permission I address you this note to which you promised to respond.

You will recollect that I desire to obtain the position of Pay Master in the Army. I feel competent to perform the duties of that office entirely to your satisfaction and will be much gratified to receive the appointment. But if there should be obstacles in the way I shall feel grateful for whatever.

I am the more emboldened to thus approach you from the fact that I met with no favors from the last administration, and from our long and favorable acquaintance, and fully rely upon your kindness & friendship for a favorable consideration of my request.

I am very respectfully

Your obdt Servt.

William G. Flood Page  [End Page 48]

To Simon Cameron

This letter is written by Judge Stephen T. Logan, one of my most distinguished, and most highly valued friends, who now, for the first time, makes a request of me about an office. I wish him to be gratified if possible. His brother-in-law, Mr. Thustin,[9] for whom he asks a Paymaster's, or Q.M.'s appointment, residing in Louisville, Ky. and is also well recommended by our friend Speed.

A. Lincoln

Sep. 9, 1861

To Simon Cameron

Let the appointment as within requested, be made at once. The name is "Gustavus Koerner." [10]

A. Lincoln

Sep. 20, 1861

Belleville Sept. 16, 1861

Hon. A. Lincoln

President of the U. States

Dear Sir,

Genl. Fremont at the instance I suppose of Gov.' Yates and other leading men in Illinois has invited me to take a place on his staff, with the rank of Col. and I have accepted it. By the law of Congress if you approve the nomination, You have to make the appointment and to order a commission to issue. May I ask You to act in this matter at Your earliest convenience, and to order the Commission, if You approve of the appointment, to be issued promptly.

Yours very truly

G. Koerner Page  [End Page 49]

To Simon Cameron

If consistent with the public interest, let the appointment be made.

A. Lincoln

Sep. 23, 1861

To His Excellency

The Presidency of the United States


I will be personally very much obliged by the appointment of Francis G. Young[11] as Brigade Quarter Master.

He has performed the duties of the office for sometime past and is well qualified.

Very respectfully

E. D. Baker[12]

To Simon Cameron

On principle a Servant, public, or private, should be compensated from the time his service is accepted and received; and in this view, this paper is submitted to the War Department.

A. Lincoln

Oct. 4, 1861 Page  [End Page 50]

Head-Quarters, Excelsior Brigade.

Good Hope Oct 2 '61

To His Excellency

The President

Sir: I have the honor to solicit your attention to the application which is now respectfully submitted; that my Rank and Pay as a Brigadier General of Volunteers should date from the time of the organization of my Brigade and its acceptance by the President, to wit. the 18th day of May 1861.

This is just, because, from a date nearly a month anterior to the acceptance of the Brigade by your order down to the 14th of September when my commission was issued, I had organized and actually commanded a Brigade raised & enrolled by myself for the War.

Your Excellency is already familiar with my many difficulties which were encountered and overcome in bringing these troops into service. My labors & expenditures in the struggle need not be recapitulated; yet, it will not be deemed improper, I trust, barely to allude to them for the purpose of commending my application to the favor as well as to the justice of the Executive.

With the greatest respect,

D E Sickles[13]

Brig Gen: Ex. Brigade

To Benjamin B. French[14]

Executive Mansion

Oct. 14, 1861

Hon. B.B. French

My dear Sir:

Your note about Stackpole [15] & Louis,[16] is received. I am getting along so well with all here that I greatly dislike to make a break amongst them, unless there is something very definite and certain, impelling to it. Is there any such thing?

A. Lincoln Page  [End Page 51]

To Elisha Whittlesey[17]


Executive Mansion,

Washington, March 11, 1862

Hon. Elisha Whittlesey

My dear Sir:

Once or twice since I have been in this House, accounts have been presented at your Bureau, which were incorrect. I shall be personally and greatly obliged to you if you will carefully scan any account which comes from here; and if in any there shall appear the least semblance wrong, make it known to me directly.[18]

Yours very truly

A. Lincoln Page  [End Page 52]


  1. AES, IHi. Henry C. Myers (1817–71) was engaged in the mercantile trade in Springfield, Illinois, and was a friend of President Lincoln. return to text
  2. John Alexander McClernand (1812–1900) was a Springfield, Illinois, contemporary of Lincoln's who in 1859 had been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. return to text
  3. AES, IHi. Francis W. Crane was mustered in as an additional paymaster of volunteers and later became a brevet lieutenant colonel in the volunteers. return to text
  4. Francis P. Blair (1821–75) had been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time of this letter, he was a colonel in the regular U.S. Army. Undoubtedly, the fact that his brother, Montgomery Blair, was U.S. postmaster general helped in securing Crane's appointment. return to text
  5. Underneath Lincoln's endorsement is Cameron's, "To be appointed S.C." return to text
  6. AES, IHi. Thomas Alexander Scott (1823–81) was an assistant U.S. secretary of war who was to supervise all government railroads and transportation lines. return to text
  7. AES, IHi. John Besler remains unidentified. return to text
  8. AES, IHi. William G. Flood was a member of the Illinois General Assembly from Adams County in 1838. He had been a staunch Douglas-ite. return to text
  9. AES, IHi. Luther Thayer Thustin was appointed an additional paymaster of volunteers in September 1861. return to text
  10. AES, IHi. Gustav Philipp Koerner (1809–96) was one of the most prominent men in Illinois. He had most recently served as lieutenant governor (1852–56) and was a powerful political ally of Lincoln's. His influence on behalf of Lincoln with the German voters of the state was well known. return to text
  11. AES, IHi. Francis G. Young became captain of the Seventy-first Pennsylvania, which was E. D. Baker's "California Regiment." Young was later court-martialed and questioned about his role in Baker's death. See also Abraham Lincoln to George McClellan, Dec. 6, 1861, Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Holt, April 11, 1864, and Vol. 4:560n in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Roy P. Basler, with Marion D. Pratt and Lloyd A. Dunlap, asst. eds., 9 vols. (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953–55). return to text
  12. Edward Dickinson Baker (1811–61) was a former member of Congress and the Illinois General Assembly. He was a close friend and ally of Lincoln's, whose son Edward was named after Baker. His death at the Battle of Balls Bluff in 1861 was an emotional blow for the Lincoln family. return to text
  13. AES, IHi. Daniel Edgar Sickles (1825–1914) was a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. He would later lose a leg at the Battle of Gettysburg. return to text
  14. ALS, Louise and Barry Taper Collection. Benjamin B. French was commissioner of public buildings in Washington, D.C., from 1861 to 1868. return to text
  15. Thomas Stackpole was a watchman at the White House in 1861. return to text
  16. Probably a reference to Louis Bargdorf, a White House doorkeeper. return to text
  17. ALS, the Lincoln Shrine, Redlands, California. Permission to publish given by Don McCue, head of special collections at the shrine. Elisha Whittlesey (1783–1863) served as a member of Congress from Ohio from 1823 to 1838. He was appointed as first comptroller of the treasury (1849–57) by President Zachary Taylor and reappointed by President Lincoln in 1861. He served in that office until his death in 1863. return to text
  18. Whittlesey's response to the president's letter is found on March 12, 1862, in the Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress. return to text