November 2, 1864

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Telegram Sent on: November 2, 1864.
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Image of the November 2, 1864 telegram

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Executive Mansion

Washington Nov. 2, 1864

Lieut. Gen. Grant

City Point(?)

Suspend until further orders the execution of Nathan Wilcox, of 22nd Man Regt. Fifth [---], savor(?) to low(?) st(?) Repair Depot.

A. Lincoln


22 fd

Read 3,4:00

sent by (blank)

Historical analysis

This analysis makes use of a heuristic for historical thinking know as SCIM-C developed by David Hicks, Peter Doolittle and Tom Ewing. For more about this historical thinking heuristic please see

Summary of the telegram

On November 2, 1864, Lincoln telegraphed from the White House in Washington DC to Lieutenant General Grant[1] in City Point to suspend the scheduled execution of Nathan Wilcox.

The Context for this telegram

In a telegram dated November 1, Albert Hobbs, a senator in the New York Legislature, had asked Lincoln for clemency of his nephew Wilcox who was accused of desertion. Lincoln asked for information about Wilcox in the consequent telegram and ultimately decided to pardon Wilcox.

In a telegram sent the previous day, November 1 [2], Lincoln had asked about the whereabouts of Wilcox.

Inferences about the telegram

While Lincoln frequently granted pardons of executions, he did not grant clemency to all crimes during the war. He took the crime of disloyalty, or desertion, very seriously. However, judging from the fact that he pardoned Wilcox, it can be inferred that Senator Hobbs was an important figure in the nation and Lincoln took his request for a pardon seriously