To Edwin D. Morgan

His Excellency Washington, D.C.
Gov. E. D. Morgan May 20. 1861

My dear Sir: Yours of the 19th. is received. Your letter to the Secretary of War I have not seen.

To not shirk just responsibility, I suppose I ought to admit that I had much to do with the matter of which you complain.

The committee came here some time last week, saying there were fourteen Regiments in N.Y. city, not within the 38 you were organizing; that something must be done with them,—that they could not safely keep them longer, nor safely disband them. I could not see—can not yet—how it could wrong you, or the Regiments you were raising, for these 14 to move forward at once, provided yours, too, should be received when ready. But aware of my own ignorance in military matters, I sent to Genl. Scott to get his opinion whether the thing could be safely done, both as to the question of confusion, and also whether the Govt. could advantageously keep and use the whole. His answer was that the whole should come—of the 14[,]5 to come here, & 9 to Fortress Monroe. I thought the whole difficulty was solved, and directed an order to be made accordingly. I was even pleased with it; because I had been trying for two weeks to begin the collecting of a force at Fortress Monroe, and it now appeared as if this would begin.

Next day & after the committee had gone, I was brought to fear that a squabble was to arise between you and the committee, by which neither your Regiments nor theirs, would move in any reasonable time; to avoid which, I wrote one of the committee—Mr. Russell—to send them at once.

I am very loth to do any wrong; but I do not see yet wherein this was a wrong.

I certainly did not know that any Regiments especially under your control were to be sent forward by the committee; but I do not perceive the substantial wrong, even in such a case. That it may be a technical wrong, I can readily understand—but we are in no condition to waste time on technicalities.

The enthusiastic uprising of the people in our cause, is our great reliance; and we can not safely give it any check, even though it overflows, and runs in channels not laid down in any chart.

In ordering the 14 Regiments forward, no intimation was intended, that you were failing in activity, or in any duty. On the contrary, I acknowledge you have done, & are doing nobly; and for which I tender you my sincere thanks. Yours very truly

A. LINCOLN

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