George F. Shepley to Abraham Lincoln, Tuesday, December 09, 1862 (Congressional election in Louisiana), 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.
New-Orleans, December 9th 1862.
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the twenty first of November with the copies of your letter of the same date, by hands of Dr Kennedy, and one dated October fourteenth, by hands of Hon E. Bouligny.
My letter of the fifteenth of November will have advised you of the receipt of the letter sent by Mr Bouligny and not received by me until after the date of my communication of Novbr 6th to the Secretary of War.
The Proclamation which I issued, and of which I had the honor to advise you in my former letter, was only for an election in the first and second Congressional districts. No parts of the Parishes composing the other two districts were within our lines and it would have been impracticable to have issued writs of election into the other parishes and no person could, by any possibility, have deposited a vote.
In the two districts in which the election was holden it has been conducted in accordance with law and the usages in the State.
I have so far succeeded in restoring civil administration as to have found gentlemen of the highest respectability and old citizens of the State and of unquestioned loyalty to accept the positions of Sheriffs and Commissioners of Election in the several Parishes.
The Election passed off quietly, the vote thrown was quite respectable in point of numbers -- and the persons elected were citizens of Louisiana, in no way connected with the Army -- and the free and unbiased choice of the people of their respective districts
It is universally admitted to have been the first election that has taken place in Louisiana for the space of nine years in which there was an opportunity for every one entitled to vote, to vote freely without fear of violence and with perfect security and freedom
I am happy to be able to assure you that there was not the slightest ground for the apprehension expressed by Dr Kennedy "that Federal officers not citizens of Louisiana might be set up as candidates". No Federal officer was a candidate, and I never heard the name of one mentioned or alluded to in connection with the office, except that some old residents of Louisiana at one time mentioned the name of another old resident of Louisiana connected with the medical department of the Army. But even he was not a candidate
I congratulate you Mr President and the country upon the evidence of unconditional loyalty to the Union afforded by the fact of so large a vote thrown in the State of Louisiana by electors all of whom had, under oath, renewed their allegiance to the United States.
With great respect
I have the honor to be
Your Obedient Servant
G. F. Shepley