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

To Edwin M. Stanton [1]

Hon. Sec. of War. City Point, Va.
Washington, D.C. March 25, 1865. 8/30 A.M.

Arrived here, all safe about 9 A.M. yesterday. No war news. Gen. Grant does not seem to know very much about Yeatman, but thinks very well of him so far as he does know.

I like Mr. Whiting very much, and hence would wish him to remain or resign as best suits himself. Hearing this much from me, do as you think best in the matter. Gen. Lee has sent the Russell letter back, concluding, as I understand from Grant, that their dignity does not admit of their receiving the document from us. Robert just now tells me there was a little rumpus up the line this morning, ending about where it began. A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, DLC-Stanton Papers. Stanton had telegraphed Lincoln on March 24: ``I was glad to hear your safe arrival at Fortress Monroe and hope that by this time you and Mrs Lincoln have reached General Grants Head Quarters inPage  374

health and comfort. Nothing new has transpired here. Your tormentors have taken wings and departed. Mr [William] Whiting Solicitor of this Department has tendered his resignation which with your permission I will accept. From absence and ill health he has been of no service for many months. What does General Grant say about Mr [James E.] Yeatman?

``The weather here is cold windy and very disagreeable so that I think you went to the sunny south in good time. I would be glad to receive a telegram from you dated at Richmond before you return. Compliments to Mrs Lincoln.'' (DLC-RTL).

The office of solicitor for the War Department remained vacant for some time after William Whiting's resignation. James E. Yeatman was under consideration for appointment as head of the Freedmen's Bureau, which had been reorganized under an act approved on March 3, 1865. Yeatman declined the appointment according to the Dictionary of American Biography.

Concerning Earl John Russell's communication to the Confederate States, General Robert E. Lee wrote Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge on March 16, 1865:

``I have received the papers recently forwarded by me, with the instructions to return them to General Grant. . . . At the time General Grant sent the papers to me I only acknowledged the receipt of them without saying what disposition I would make of them. I hoped that this would render it unnecessary to take any further notice of the matter, but as it is deemed proper to reply, and the fact that the communication of Earl Russell was forwarded at his request may render a reply necessary, I beg leave . . . to suggest that the refusal of the Government to hold intercourse with neutral nations through the medium selected by Lord Russell, would seem to be sufficient for all purposes.

``The addition of a doubt as to the authenticity of the document would seem to be unnecessary after such a general refusal to receive any communication through the channel selected, and may weaken the force of that refusal, by leading to the inference that a duly authenticated paper would be received, if forwarded in the objectionable manner, through the hands and under the inspection of the enemy. . . .'' (OR, I, XLVI, III, 1315-16).