Abraham Lincoln Scrawled This Astonishing Note To Save a Soldier’s Life

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 2:28 p.m. MDT

Our take: The Foundation for the National Archives hold many precious pieces of this country's history.

In 1863, the archivists told us, the Armys Judge Advocate General sentenced Michael Delaney to death for deserting his Colorado regiment in 1862. Delaneys case file was passed up to President Abraham Lincoln, who reviewed death sentences from court martials. In the file sent to Lincoln, the judge noted that Delaney had been captured while fighting for a different Colorado regiment: In other words, he had deserted, but then re-enlisted.

Seeing this, Lincoln overturned the death sentence. He wrote on Delaneys file: Let him fight instead of being shot. A Lincoln.

Read more about Abraham Lincoln on Slate.

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