LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed ("A. Lincoln") as President, comprising 8 lines plus signature and date, [Washington, D.C.], 1 June 1861. 1 page, a narrow sheet (7½ x 3¼ in.), tipped to a protective sheet. Fine condition.
"WITHOUT INJUSTICE TO OTHERS": THE PRESIDENT URGES THE APPOINTMENT OF ONE OF THE "FIGHTING MCCOOKS OF OHIO," IF IT CAN BE DONE EQUITABLY
Lincoln strongly urges the appointment of a highly successful cavalry officer who would go on to serve with exceptional distinction throughout the war. While Lincoln was frequently importuned to recommend appointments to his cabinet and officers, the President retained a fine sense of the proprieties and the need to ensure that the process of appointment and promotion was conducted fairly. The present note contains a particularly clear expression of Lincoln's scrupulous concern.
Lincoln writes: "Edwin S. McCook, is excellently well recommended within for a Lieutenancy in the Regular Army, and I hope it can, without injustice to others be given him. A Lincoln...."
Edwin Stanton McCook (1837-1873) was from a noted military family, "the five fighting McCooks of Ohio." His father, John McCook, was an army surgeon and four brothers served as Union officers. After attending the U.S. Naval Academy, Edwin sought an army command, and after a short stint in the Illinois militia received his first appointment in the regular Army, as recommended by Lincoln in this note. During the war, McCook was brevetted for gallant and meritorious service at Shiloh, Perryville, Chickamauga, cavalry operations in East Tennessee, and the capture of Selma, Alabama. In addition, he fought at Forts Henry and Donelson, Vicksburg, Chattanooga, the Atlanta Campaign and the March to the Sea. McCook was wounded three times and received five brevets for gallant and meitorious service, ultimately rising to Brigadier General of Volunteers. He resigned in May 1866 and served as Acting Governor of the Dakota Territory, but was assassinated 11 September 1873 by a banker and political adversary, Peter Wintermute, while delivering a speech in a saloon in Yankton.