Abraham Lincoln to Lorenzo Thomas, November 7, 1861, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln: Second Supplement (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 36.
Transcription adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), edited by Roy P. Basler
Adapted by Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Washington, November 7, 1861
Adjut. Genl. Thomas:
Capt. Gurden Chapin, who was dismissed from the Army on the discovery of a letter written by him promising his father to resign and join the South, at a certain time and place, presents himself, and asks to be re-instated. He asks this, because he did not resign at the time promised, having already determined to not do so; and has since done good service, and been under fire on one occasion.
My view of all this class of cases is:
First. We need all the educated military talent we can get.
Second. It [is] our interest to have as little of it as possible go to the enemy.
Third. That officers (and especially young ones, as Capt. Chapin is) who have been dismissed, even on good cause prima facie, and who still cling to us, protest their loyalty and refuse to take service under the enemy, as a general rule may safely be trusted. Examine his case, & if you are willing for him to be restored, so am I.