LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph note signed ("A Lincoln") as President, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., 16 January 1864. 1 full page, 8vo (6 1/16 x 5 in.), on "Executive" Mansion staionery, tiny losses along vertical fold, central area browned (from former frame).
LINCOLN PARDONS A YOUNG DESERTER, UPON CONDITION HE "FAITHFULLY SERVES OUT HIS TERM"
Lincoln writes: "Upon condition that Earl C. Crippen of Co. F 73rd Ohio Volunteers, returns to his regiment, within a reasonable time, and faithfully serves out his term, including time lost by his desertion, or until he shall be honorably discharged, he is fully pardoned for any desertion of which he is heretofore and now guilty."
Given the date of the letter, it it tempting to surmise that the Union enlisted man whom Lincoln here pardons may have been absent without leave around the Christmas holidays. Crippen enlisted at age 22 as a private in October 1861, joining a regiment which saw almost constant action for the next three years. It, and presumably Crippen, fought at Cross Keys, Cedar Mountain, Freeman's Ford, Second Bull Run (where it suffered heavy casualties), Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Then, attached to Sherman's army for the Atlanta campaign, the 73rd Ohio saw action at New Hope Church, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain (where Crippen was wounded), the Atlanta seige, the March to the Sea and Sherman's Carolina campaigns. Crippen evidently kept the bargain which President Lincoln spells out here, returning to his regiment and serving until honorably discharged on 4 January 1865.
Apparently unpublished, not in Collected Works, ed. R.P. Basler, or supplements.
Provenance: R.G. Newman, Abraham Lincoln Bookshop -- A western collector -- The present owner.