To George B. McClellan

Executive Mansion,
Major Genl. McClellan. Washington, Oct. 29. 1862

Your despatches of night before last, yesterday, & last night, all received. I am much pleased with the movement of the Army. When you get entirely across the river let me know.

What do you know of the enemy? A. LINCOLN

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To George B. McClellan

Executive Mansion, Washington,
October 27, 1862. [3:25 P.M.]

Major-General McClellan: Your dispatch of 3 p.m. to-day, in regard to filling up old regiments with drafted men, is received, and the request therein shall be complied with as far as practicable.

And now I ask a distinct answer to the question, Is it your purpose not to go into action again until the men now being drafted in the States are incorporated into the old regiments?

A. LINCOLN.

To George B. McClellan

Executive Mansion, Washington,
Majr. Gen. McClellan. Oct. 27. 1862

Yours of yesterday received. Most certainly I intend no injustice to any; and if I have done any, I deeply regret it. To be told after more than five weeks total inaction of the Army, and during which period we had sent to that Army every fresh horse we possibly could, amounting in the whole to 7918 that the cavalry horses were too much fatiegued to move, presented a very cheerless, almost hopeless, prospect for the future; and it may have forced something of impatience into my despatches. If not recruited, and rested then, when could they ever be? I suppose the river is rising, and I am glad to believe you are crossing. A. LINCOLN

Reply to Eliza P. Gurney

October 26, 1862

I am glad of this interview, and glad to know that I have your sympathy and prayers. We are indeed going through a great trial—a fiery trial. In the very responsible position in which I happen to be placed, being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, as I am, and as we all are, to work out his great purposes, I have desired that all my works and acts may be according to his will, and that it might be so, I have sought his aid—but if after endeavoring to do my best in the light which he affords me, I find my efforts fail, I must believe that for some purpose unknown to me, He wills it otherwise If I had had my way, this war would never have been commenced; If I had been allowed my way this war would have been ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that He permits it for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that he who made the world still governs it.

To George B. McClellan

Executive Mansion, Washington,
Maj. Gen. McClellan Oct. 26. 1862. [11:30 A.M.]

Yours in reply to mine about horses received. Of course you know the facts better than I, still two considerations remain. Stuart’s cavalry outmarched ours, having certainly done more marked service on the Peninsula, and everywhere since. Secondly, will not a movement of our army be a relief to the cavalry, compelling the enemy to concentrate, instead of “foraging” in squads everywhere?

But I am so rejoiced to learn from your despatch to Gen. Halleck, that you begin crossing the river this morning. A. LINCOLN

Order Disapproving Death Sentence of Jose Maria Rivas

October 25, 1862.

Waiving the question of jurisdiction in the case, the sentence is not approved, because the accused is not shown to have been within our lines in disguise, or by false pretense, except by hearsay testimony; and because in his admission that he was a “Spy,” he may not have understood the technical term, and may have meant no more than that he was a scout of the enemy. He clearly is a prisoner of war. A. LINCOLN.

Order Mitigating Death Sentence of Sely Lewis

October 25, 1862

So far as the sentence in the case relates to the accused as a Spy, it is disapproved, the Commission not having jurisdiction of the offense. The sentence of death is mitigated imprisonment for the term of six months, commencing this day—October 25, 1862.

A. LINCOLN.