My Dear General--In the course of these sketches I have had, and shall have, frequent occasion to refer to various public men by name, in connection with fact or anecdote. I take this opportunity of saying that I shall never intentionally allow any partisan feeling or political bias to influence the tone of such reference. It is my object to draw only from the life, and not to attempt to add to my "effects" by high colors laid on at the expense of others, or to gratify personal prejudice. I presume, however, that you have taken all this for granted.
Applications for pardon, in their various forms, made a very considerable item of the business of the Executive Office, and the papers in such cases frequently formed quite an accumulation upon my desk. The great mass of papers in all criminal cases in the army were, of course, in the custody of the War Office, or rather in the Judge Advocate General's Bureau; but no sooner did any unfortunate, be his misdemeanor large or small, become an applicant for Executive clemency, than petitions, reviews, arguments, &c., began to make their appearance, through the mail or by private hand, at the White House. For a long time it was my duty to examine and make a brief of these documents, so as to be ready to present them for reference when called for, or to report upon them as the circumstances of the case might demand. So many stories have been told of Mr. Lincoln's clement and merciful nature that I do not need to add to the list, and will only say that, especially when the death penalty had been awarded by the court, military or otherwise, he seemed to search anxiously, and to wish me to do so, for some good reason for the exercise of his constitutional power of pardon or commutation. A portion of Friday was set apart with some regularity for the examination of capital cases; but as few weeks passed without the necessity of abandoning at least some one poor fellow to his fate, the President came to look forward to that part of his duty with extreme repugnance, and stig-