Lincoln Letter


Mr. Lincoln

I want to bother you with a personal request

Col. McCullough's two sons, William and Howard, are both in the Army.

Howard, stout, robust and active at last accounts, is at Fort Morgan Mobile Bay and makes a good soldier.

Lieutenant Colonel William McCullough of the 4th Illinois Cavalry was killed in action on December 5, 1862. McCullough had served as clerk of the McLean County Circuit Court before the war and was therefore well known to both Orme and Lincoln. Upon learning that McCullough had been killed, Lincoln wrote a letter of condolence to McCullough's daughter Fanny. See Collected Works, VI, 16-17.

William is a private in 5th Illinois Cavalry now on duty as orderly to some Captain at Vicksburg. He is a feeble boy and totally unfit for military service, and should never have been mustered in.

I have been trying to get him detailed to report to me, but the military machinery don't always run when I try to move it. The officers very properly decline to let him go out of their District.

I would therefore request of you an order for him to report to me. I would not ask this, if he were able to do his country service in the field. I do ask it because he will be benefitted, and the country suffer no harm by the act.

3 Lincoln wrote to Secretary of War Stanton on February 19, 1865 and directed that he follow Orme's request and relieve William McCullough from duty. See Collected Works, VIII, 307

I do not ask his discharge. I am collecting my views on the subject of trade in this Valley and will send you a brief note embracing them as soon as I can.

I have spent two months nearly here seeing and hearing every body and am trying to find out what is best for the country on the trade question.

I am with great respect

Your friend

William W. Orme