Fragment of Henry Newman to Abraham Lincoln, 14 December 18481[Spr]ingfield Decer 14th 1848Dear Sir,
You will remember that, I spoke to you when here, of the back pay due to my son Joseph, as a Soldier in the U S. service in the Mexican War, and that Wm Ferguson had sent on all the necessary papers to Washington, which you will find filed in the War department. I am very much in Want of the money and would be glad to have you call and obtain it immediately, and forward the same to me without delay.2
Wherefore, I do hereby constitute and appoint you Abraham Lincoln Esqr[Esquire] my true and lawfull attorney to do in the premises all that I could or might do, in the [
...?] to receive the aforesaid pay and to3 signe all such papers for me, as may be required or necessary, the same as I might or could
do was I present, and all Acts you . . .
<Page 2>[SPRINGFIELD Ills?]
FREEHonl[Honorable] Abraham Lincoln EsqrReprest[Representative] in Congress,Washington City
Please examine the within, and return it to me with your answer to me.A Lincoln4
1Henry Newman wrote this letter. The letter is a fragment; the last part, including Newman’s signature, has been lost.
2Joseph Newman died in the Battle of Cerro Gordo.
When exactly Newman spoke to Lincoln is difficult to determine. Lincoln returned to Illinois in October 1848, and spent most of the month canvassing his congressional district on behalf of Zachary Taylor during the presidential campaign of 1848. Lincoln was in Springfield on election day and several other days in November. He left Springfield for Washington in late November, so the conversation could have occurred any time during that period.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 20 May 1847, 2:1, 2; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:283-84; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 7 November 1848, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-11-07.
4Lincoln wrote and signed this endorsement. The recipient is unknown. Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, contends that it was addressed to the War Department, but it is possible that the recipient was Oliver Diefendorf. A war veteran himself, Diefendorf had established an office in Washington, DC to settle claims for bounty lands, extra pay, and pensions due soldiers who participated in the war. On January 4, 1849, Lincoln and Diefendorf submitted an affidavit on behalf of the Newmans. Presumably Lincoln and Diefendorf appeared together at the War Department to give testimony in the case.
Roy P. Basler, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:15; Illinois Journal (Weekly) (Springfield), 3 October 1848, 3:5.
Autograph Letter, 2 page(s), Brown University (Providence, RI).