At the commencement of the rebellion Melancthon Smith
was postmaster of the town of Rockford, Illinois
, and his wife was acting as deputy-postmaster.
Feeling it his duty to participate in the struggle, Mr. Smith
raised a regiment, of which he was appointed Colonel
, and entered service under General Grant
, leaving Mrs. Smith
to attend to the duties of the post-office. Colonel Smith
distinguished himself on several occasions, and at the recent storming of the first redoubt at Vicksburgh
, led the forlorn hope, and was shot through the head and killed.
Application was then made for the appointment as postmaster of a gentleman who, under ordinary circumstances, would have been a proper person to fill the office.
Counter applications to retain the widow were also sent in. The matter was brought before the President
; he indorsed the application for the widow, and afterward sent a letter to the Postmaster-General
, of which the following is a copy: