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A letter from President Lincoln.

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:

Executive Mansion, Washington, July 24, 1863.
Hon. Postmaster-General:
Sir: Yesterday little indorsements of mine went to you in two cases of postmasterships sought for widows whose husbands have fallen in the battles of this war. These cases occurring on the same day, brought me to reflect more attentively than I had before done as to what is fairly due from us here in the dispensing of patronage toward the men who, by fighting our battles, bear the chief burden of saving our country. My conclusion is, that other claims and qualifications being equal, they have the better right, and this is especially applicable to the disabled soldier and the deceased soldier's family.

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

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