Reverdy Johnson to Abraham Lincoln, Friday, September 05, 1862 (Response to Lincoln's letter of July 26), Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress, http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/alhtml/malhome.html.
Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
Adapted by John Osborne, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
Washington 5 Sept '62
My Dear Sir,
Your private letter to me of the 26th of July, has been forwarded to me from New Orleans-- When, some days since, you read a copy of it to me, in the presence of some Louisiana Gentlemen, I deemed it due to us both, to correct you in a fact that it alleged-- It was, that I told you "the day after the Baltimore mob of April '61, that it would crush all Union feeling in Maryland, for me to attempt bringing troops over Md. soil to Washington."
You were never more mistaken. I never said so, to you, or any one else, nor ever thought so-- Our then Governor, in a correspondence with Genl Butler, commanding troops off Annapolis, on their way to this City, substantially, expressed such an apprehension This, at the time, I fairly on every proper occasion, repudiated, as unjust,
as unjust to our State, & a clear violation of our duty to the Genl. Government-- I hope; -- indeed, I know, that from the first outbreak of the traitors that now threatens, the very existence of the Nation, & which is again imperilling the Capital, I have had no thought, that was not as purely, as absolutely loyal, as has been entertained by yourself, or any citizen in the Country--
Upon the question of the policy of the administration on the Slavery topic, (Has there been an uniform one? I think not, & so thinks, thousands of loyal men) I do not propose now to trouble you, tho' your note would justify me,--
My opinion in regard to it, is [divided?], & has been, from the beginning. To [Error?], as I think, in this particular, I refer to almost unanimous hostility to the Administration, in the States in which the institution exists. And, I greatly fear, that from this cause, the rebellion, which I pray Heaven, may be soon extinguished, will if not successful, for years fill the land with unspeakable woe-- But my chief object in this note, is to set you right on a fact, which if true, would impeach alike my intelligence & patriotism, & to do this in writing-- I beg you therefore, as an act of justice, that you file this, with the copy of your's to me, that, in the future, should your mistake become known, its corection will be also known.
Sincerely, yr friend