Friday, June 8, 2007

A "New" Lincoln Document?

It seemed like an easy-enough task. The Discovery Channel wanted the National Archives to track down a few documents for their upcoming documentary on Gettysburg.

Archivist Trevor Plante began searching through the documents when he saw something that wasn’t supposed to be there.

The letter was old, the handwriting was familiar, the signature…“A. Lincoln.”

“I was looking for something else and frankly where I found it was in an obscure place,” said archivist Trevor Plante. CLICK HERE to read the AP story.

Plante adds his name to the list of people who have uncovered a Lincoln document!

So does it reveal something about Lincoln we didn’t already know? Well, no. In fact, a transcription of the letter appears in the Collected Works 6:319:

To Henry W. Halleck [1]
Major-General Halleck: [July 7, 1863]

We have certain information that Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant on the 4th of July. Now, if General Meade can complete his work, so gloriously prosecuted thus far, by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army, the rebellion will be over.Yours, truly, A. LINCOLN.

[1] OR, I, XXVII, I, 83. In the source Lincoln's note to Halleck is introduced in a telegram from Halleck to Meade of July 7 as follows: ``I have received from the President the following note, which I respectfully communicate.''

On July 8 at 12:30 P.M., Halleck again prodded Meade, but gently: ``There is reliable information that the enemy is crossing at Williamsport. The opportunity to attack his divided forces should not be lost. The President is urgent and anxious that your army should move against him by forced marches.'' (OR, I, XXVII, III, 605).

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