Feb.y 15th 1863
HON. E. B. WASHBURN
I have just been shown a letter from the President to Brig. Steele stating that his name had been witheld from the Senate for promotion in consequence of charges that had been made against him for returning fugitive slaves to their Masters. 1
Gen. Steele is one of our very best soldiers as well as one of the most able. He is in every sense a soldier, one who believes, as such, his first duty is obedience to law and the orders of his superiors. No matter how far any policy of the Government might vary from his individual views he would conform to it in good faith. Besides I have never heard him express an opinion against any policy of the Administration and know he would do nothing to weaken the power of the President or any officer serving under him.
Gen. Steele is a Northern man, never gave a vote in his life and I presume never influanced one. He has, I think, four brothers, all but one Republicans, and that one, as you know, a conservative Democratic Member of Congress. 2